FIA president asked for drivers' help in search for race leaders
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FIA president asked for drivers' help in search for race leaders

3 June - 19:12 Last update: 20:04

Mohammed Ben Sulayem took over the duties as president from Jean Todt at the end of December last year, but he did not end up in a warm bed. On the contrary. There is an awful lot of work to be done within the FIA. One of the spearheads is the training of new race directors, explains Ben Sulayem.

Michael Masi had to step down after the debacle in Abu Dhabi in 2021. Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas now take alternating honours, but they have no history in Formula 1. In fact, no one was ready and the FIA wants to avoid a similar situation in the future. It means that a lot of investment is needed now.

"It is the pinnacle of the sport and the pinnacle of technology, and then we have to look for race directors," Ben Sulayem told Grand Prix 247. He enlisted the help of the GPDA (the drivers' union). "I was asking them to help me find the directors we need: do I go to Google or look into Amazon…. This is no overnight decision! You have to find them and you have to raise and train them."

'VAR' in Formula 1

A suitable race director is not easy to find, which is why the international motorsport federation wants to train them early on so that they can also be brought in gradually. "We need to train them to replace. If we don’t do it now, we will have the same problem the following year. So, we are training people." In doing so, the FIA says it has already started with "virtual FIA race control," stationed in Geneva.

VAR was presented as an addition in the investigative report to the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, but in practice, at first glance, Formula 1 does not seem to benefit from it tremendously. According to Ben Sulayem, it helps the stewards during a race weekend and ensures that the stewards become better trained.

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