F1 News

FIA wants to improve race management, role of Wittich/Freitas possibly in jeopardy

FIA wants to improve race management, role of Wittich/Freitas possibly in jeopardy

10-01-2023 10:29 Last update: 13:14


Formula 1 may get new race directors in 2023. Mohammed Ben Sulayem has confirmed that the FIA is engaged in a process to train new stewards and race directors. Niels Wittich may also lose his position.

Wittich and Eduardo Freitas were chosen as the new race directors after the departure of Michael Masi. However, the FIA made some bizarre choices again last season. For example, Fernando Alonso was given a 30-second penalty after the United States Grand Prix, dropping from seventh to 15th place. The Spaniard drove on after a heavy crash with Lance Stroll, despite extensive damage to his Alpine.

Alpine filed a complaint and the result was overturned. However, Haas, the team that complained to the FIA about Alonso's car, appeared to have filed the protest too late. Race officials admitted the mistake and the Spaniard got his seventh place back four days later anyway.

New race directors in 2023?

In a press conference during his visit to the Dakar Rally, Ben Sulayem was asked whether the race directors will retain their positions in 2023. "No, there is a process going on. We have a team working on training stewards and race directors. You cannot have just one. I think you have to have a second option. I always believe someone better can be found in the world, a better steward or race director. Our team trains them and I promise you we will find them", he says opposite Marca.

It seems Ben Sulayem is talking about a new partner here for Wittich, who continued on his own as race director after the Japanese Grand Prix. The German rotated with Freitas during the season, but the latter was suspended until the end of the season. However, Marca reports that Wittich's role would also be in jeopardy after the events in Austin.