Toto Wolff comments on new faces at the FIA including his former advisor

© Sebastian Kawka for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix ltd.

The FIA has had numerous staff changes since the controversial ending of the 2021 season, including the addition of Toto Wolff’s former special advisor Shaila-Ann Rao. The Austrian gives his comments.

Immediately following the final race of the 2021 season, the FIA elected its new president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem. As a direct reaction to the controversial finish of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, race director Michael Masi was replaced by two alternating race directors Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas.

Later, the man who oversaw the FIA’s investigation into the Abu Dhabi controversy – Peter Bauer has left his position as secretary general for motorsport, and was replaced on an interim basis by Toto Wolff’s former special advisor Shaila-Ann Rao.

These large shakeups at the governing organization brought about new controversies, as the new leadership started enforcing a widely criticised jewellery clampdown for drivers, and some of the decisions made by the new race directors didn’t sit well with a lot of drivers and teams.

Despite all this, Toto Wolff doesn’t think the relationship between the teams and the FIA is shaken.

“I think the FIA is getting there and we must not also forget that Mohammed needs to put his team in place and find his grip,” the Austrian said.

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“I think my opinion about Shaila-Ann in terms of integrity and transparency, she is a lawyer, this is what she stands for and I think it is important.

“We have had too many controversies in the past where things were not out in the open that should have been and she is a guarantee for that.”

Wolff also gave his comments on the FIA’s new sporting director for single-seater racing – Francois Sicard.

“For Sicard, everybody reads in the paddock that he has been on the other side, he has seen it all, he is a racer, he has been the team manager of DAMS for many years and he is the right person in that position.

“These guys know together how to make decisions on what to do with the current race directors. Can they be coached and developed, or what other solutions are there?” Toto concluded.

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