F1 owners ‘deeply dissatisfied’ with FIA after Monaco chaos and Lewis Hamilton criticism – Formula One’s owners are “deeply unhappy” with the sport’s governing body, the FIA, after a series of controversial decisions at the Monaco Grand Prix.
The start of the event in Monte Carlo was delayed due to rain, but race director Eduardo Freitas was criticised for taking the stance, including seven-time F1 champion Lewis Hamilton, who was angry at the delay.
“I don’t know why they didn’t send us out. We are Formula One drivers; [the weather] is not a good enough reason,” the Mercedes driver explained after the race.
And it seems the drivers are not alone in their frustration, as the Guardian reports that Liberty Media is concerned that the FIA is damaging Formula One’s image, while at the same time it is enjoying a popularity boost following the success of Netflix’s Drive to Survive series.
A turbulent relationship has developed between F1 and the FIA following Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s takeover of the FIA in December, with differences in approach apparent when the governing body did not ban Russian drivers from racing as long as they were under a neutral flag F1 and other regional motorsport bodies have severed all ties with the Russian state.
In addition, the investigation into the sequence of events at last season’s highly controversial finale in Abu Dhabi, where Max Verstappen was eventually crowned champion, was deemed “deeply unsatisfactory” and “did not address exactly” what happened.
More recently, Ben Sulaymen has deferred approval of the increase in sprint races in 2023 despite unanimous agreement within F1, while the FIA has gone to war with Hamilton for imposing strict jewellery regulations on drivers that many believe are completely unnecessary.
In Miami, Formula One’s new flagship, Alpine’s Esteban Ocon was scathing in his assessment of the officials after requests to implement a Tecpro barrier in place of the concrete one that saw him and Carlos Sainz crash were ignored – while teammate Fernando Alonso was also critical after receiving penalties in the race.
This has ultimately led to questions about whether the FIA’s authority in F1 should be diminished, especially as the FIA’s budget is almost entirely dependent on F1 revenue, and it is understood that alternative options are being explored.
However, the complete removal of the FIA is unlikely and any change is expected to result in the FIA’s role being ceremonial and F1 managing itself.