Toto Wolff’s former special advisor defends her FIA appointment

© Sebastian Kawka for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix ltd.

Toto Wolff’s former special advisor Shaila-Ann Rao has replaced the departing Peter Bayer at the FIA, which drew some criticism from rival teams.

After FIA’s Secretary General for Sport and F1 Executive Director Peter Bayer decided to leave the governing organization, it was announced that a part of his duties will be taken over by Shaila-Ann Rao, who became the interim secretary general.

Because in the past she has been Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff’s special advisor, some team have expressed concern about her appointment.

In an interview with Corriere della Sera, Rao reminded everyone that there have been many people appointed to governing positions within Formula 1, who had strong ties with the teams.

“Before I worked for Mercedes, I was the Federation’s director of legal affairs,” Rao said.

“The world of F1 is like this, you go from one team to other assignments, it is full of ex of something, even [F1 CEO] Stefano Domenicali is an ex of Ferrari.

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“But I don’t worry about certain voices, I go ahead and continue to do what I’ve always done: work.”

Rao also gave her comments on the FIA’s proposed rule tweaks for 2023, aimed at putting a stop to porpoising (but also flexi-floors), which made some teams threated the organization with legal action.

“At the moment it is only a proposal and that it has not yet been finalized,” she explained.

“And anyway, we work for the safety of the drivers all the time, what would happen if we didn’t intervene when safety is at stake?” Rao concluded.

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