TJ13 reported earlier today that the ongoing battle between the president of the FIA and Formula One had taken a new twist. Mohammed Ben Sulayem had written to F1 and the teams explaining he was stepping down from the day to day running of the sport and handing over the reigns to the FIA’s head of single seater racing, Nikolas Tombazis.
With an F1 commission meeting due in less than two weeks the expectations were when the FIA, teams and F1 gathered it would be a fiery occasion.
Big F1 rows yet to be resolved
Now its unclear whether Ben Sulayem will even attend the F1 commission given the backlash towards him is likely to be significant despite today’s announcement.
The process by which new entrants into Formula One have been outlined with the deadline for applications set at April 30th 2023. The teams and F1 will wish to debate at the commission gathering how they will be represented given part of the new entrant criteria requires, “the overall long-term interests of the Championship, involving all stakeholders, will determine which candidates are selected.”
FIA say this was always a planned move
By handing over the day to day running of F1 to Tombazis, Ben Sulayem has cleverly removed himself from the frontline confrontation with the teams and F1. Yet there is no indication there will be any changes in direction over the drivers being banned from making political statements, wearing jewellery and whether we will soon see an 11th, 12th or even 13th team on the F1 grid.
The FIA have now commented on their president’s decision to move day to day F1 responsibilities to Nikolas Tombazis.
“The president’s manifesto clearly set out this plan before he was elected – it pledged ‘the appointment of an FIA CEO to provide an integrated and aligned operation,’ as well as to ‘introduce a revised governance framework’ under “a leadership team focused on transparency, democracy, and growth.
Deadlines for new entrants may inflame matters again
“These goals, as well as the announcement of the new structure of the Single-Seater Department have been planned since the beginning of this Presidency.
“The FIA President has a wide remit that covers the breadth of global motorsport and mobility, and now that the structural reorganisation in Formula One is complete this is a natural next step.”
For now the consistent war of words waged in the media between the parties may for now fade away. Although the issues remain and this could be the calm before the storm as the June 30th deadline for new F1 teams to be announced draws ever closer.
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EXPLAINED: Why FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has decided to step back from the day-to-day running of Formula 1 🔊 pic.twitter.com/b2LJZTCwRT
— Sky Sports F1 (@SkySportsF1) February 8, 2023