Calls for FIA Transparency Rise

Calls for FIA Transparency Rise


Amidst three major controversies, the FIA’s leadership under Mohammed Ben Sulayem faces calls for transparency and less interference in Formula 1 affairs.

There are not one, but three controversies surrounding Mohammed Ben Sulayem: the FIA president is accused of interference in two distinct instances (the cancellation of a penalty against Fernando Alonso last year in Saudi Arabia, and exerting pressure not to certify the Las Vegas circuit, amidst disputes with the FOM).

Susie Wolff, the CEO of the F1 Academy, has also initiated legal action against the FIA, expressing dissatisfaction over the Federation’s brief and aborted investigation into potential conflicts of interest involving her husband, Toto Wolff.

Reflecting the sentiments of Zak Brown and Peter Bayer (further discussed here), Frédéric Vasseur, the head of Ferrari, is now calling for greater transparency from the FIA regarding the three Mohammed Ben Sulayem controversies (Alonso, Las Vegas, and Susie Wolff).

He also advocates for fewer controversies and more focus on the sport itself.

“Yes, I agree with Zak and Peter that we need to be transparent in all these matters. Honestly, fans don’t ask me about this. They talk about oversteer, understeer, and competition. At some point, perhaps, we should concentrate on our sport.”

“Transparency is crucial, and we must trust the sport’s governance to ensure this. But don’t ask us to comment, as we don’t have access to the evidence. And making comments based on hearsay, rumors, and the like only adds another layer… I won’t say the word because then I’d have to see the stewards tonight!”

Nonetheless, Frédéric Vasseur has trust in the FIA – but does he have a choice?

“At some point, we have to trust the governing body. I might be a bit naive, but I believe we have to give them the responsibility to handle this. On our part, we are participants in the sport. We are not involved in the complaint (of Susie Wolff).”

“I think we have no choice but to be confident. We don’t know who the whistleblower is. We don’t know the cause behind it. And don’t ask us to form an opinion in the end. Either we have an opinion on the overall system or we don’t. But in that case, it’s completely impossible for us. And again, I may be too naive, but we have to trust in the system.”

Alessandro Alunni Bravi, the team representative of Stake F1 and a former lawyer, is uniquely positioned to assess the validity of the FIA’s procedures.

He too calls for greater transparency… but does he trust in the sport, even without having full insight into the situation?

“We are talking about complaints or legal proceedings here.”

“Transparency means that sources must be verified, the process should be conducted according to the rules, and all evidence must be disclosed to the parties, giving them the opportunity for cross-examination and counter-interrogation. When we talk about transparency, it’s entirely different if we are in a court of law or in a different consensus. In this case, the FIA obviously needs to initiate a procedure that adheres to its own rules and ensures that all evidence will be scrutinized by the parties. Transparency, in this case, signifies a correct procedure and the chance for each party to attend the hearing and present their defense.”

“There might be things we are aware of or not, due to confidentiality, but are matters thoroughly examined? Are all parties heard equally? And when conclusions are drawn, what were the process and the outcome? I don’t think, given the confidentiality and these different natures, that we necessarily have the right to know all the details. I simply think we need assurance that when an issue is raised, we know it has been investigated and that it has been done independently.”

“So, if someone is involved in a situation, they should welcome transparency and the FIA’s examination of the situation from all sides.”

However, the Italian states he has full confidence in the FIA. Is this more by default or a true conviction?

“No, for me, we fully trust in the FIA and all the processes in place. Thus, we are saying the opposite of what you interpreted. Whether it’s Formula 1 or the FIA, we are all part of this community and we defer to the bodies that regulate it.”

Calls for FIA Transparency Rise. Calls for FIA Transparency Rise


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