Ferrari concerned about Wolff’s former advisor’s FIA role, he responds

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Toto Wolff’s former special advisor Shaila-Ann Rao has replaced Peter Bayer at the FIA. Mattia Binotto says it’s a “concern” for Ferrari.

Toto Wolff’s former special advisor Shaila-Ann Rao has been named as an interim replacement for Peter Bayer, the man who oversaw FIA’s Abu Dhabi investigation.

Bayer assumed the roles of FIA’s secretary-general and F1 executive director in December of 2021, but only a few months later he has stepped down, and Shaila-Ann Rao stepped in to take over some of his duties on an interim basis.

Ahead of the Azerbaijan Grand Prix Ferrari’s team boss Mattia Binotto was asked if this was a concern for his team.

“On the concern of Shaila-Ann, yes, certainly, it’s a concern,” the Italian said.

“She’s a great person. She’s got a lot of experience. She will certainly be capable of doing the job. I’m pretty sure on that.

“It’s a concern but it’s only a concern. It’s down to them to make sure that there will be no conflicts of interest at all, to behave properly. And it’s down to the president to ensure it. I’ve got the trust they will do it.

“As Ferrari, it’s a concern. I’m pretty sure that through the behaviours, through the decisions, they will prove it’s a wrong concern,” he concluded.

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Wolff was later asked to give his comments on the departure of Peter Bayer, and give his response to Ferrari’s concerns.

“We worked with Peter Bayer for quite some time and he was a rational guy,” the Austrian said.

“I personally enjoyed having him as a sparring partner but the FIA is changing its structure and its organisation and the president has to make his decisions and we certainly shouldn’t interfere into any of those decisions.

“I think he has a vision about where he wants to have the FIA and if part of that is a change of organisation, we need to respect it.

“As for Shaila-Ann, she was at the FIA before she joined us. She was chief executive officer of one of the largest sports agencies before, and what the positive is of having Shaila-Ann in this position, [is that] she’s one about governance and transparency.

“She’s a lawyer and I think this is something which we have always criticised in the past that things weren’t always as transparent and as clear for the teams.

“I think this is one of the key topics that she will be trying to implement and that is good news for all of the teams,” Wolff concluded.

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