The FIA has been a topic of decision among the higher circles of the F1. The racing body is believed to be deeply unhappy with the FIA’s decision-making, including some recent controversial decisions in Monaco. The sport’s governing body’s decisions were publicly criticized after the weekend in Monte Carlo. Earlier, the F1 was believed to be looking for a way to reduce the FIA’s influence on the crucial decisions during the race and put the governing body in a more ceremonial position. After another embarrassing weekend in Monaco, there have been reports of a growing disagreement between the F1 and FIA. Particularly with the new President Mohammed ben Sulayem. Reports suggest that F1 believes that the FIA is damaging the sport’s reputation as much as it is enjoying the increase in the sport’s popularity.
The most recent issue that F1 is concerned about is the new race director Eduardo Freitas‘ decision to delay the start of Sunday’s race due to rain in Monaco. Lewis Hamilton and other drivers suggested that the race could have been started before the rain became too heavy. The governing body was concerned about the drivers having no practice in wet conditions over the weekend. But Hamilton stated that he did not see the reason for the FIA not sending the drivers out on the track. The seven-time world champ added, “We are Formula One drivers; the weather is not a good enough reason.”
The Monaco decision and a series of other FIA decisions so far have led to increased frustrations among F1 and the racing teams. Ben Sulayem took over the FIA president’s position from Jean Todt in December. And his involvement has led to some uncomfortable situations in the sport.
What Are The FIA Controversies F1 is Unhappy About?
Ben Sulayem was reluctant to ban Russian drivers from competing in F1 events after Russia started a war against Ukraine. However, the racers were allowed to continue racing under a neutral flag despite the F1 acting swiftly to cancel the Russian GP. Soon after, the FIA was made to look foolish after national racing bodies like British Motorsport UK issued a ban on Russian teams, competitors, and participating officials in the UK events.
Further, the FIA’s involvement in last year’s Abu Dhabi controversy was not addressed properly by the new management. The last-minute decision by the then-race director Micheal Masi cost Hamilton his eighth championship title. However, instead of making a genuine decision on the whole incident, Sulayem has talked about bringing Masi back in his old role.
Further, the F1 put forward a proposal of doubling down on the number of sprints this season. The unanimous agreement by the FIA and all the team to increase the number of races to six was opposed by Sulayem, demanding more money. And his stance on the proposal has annoyed the F1 bosses and the teams.
Meanwhile, the FIA is also involved in the enforcement of the jewelry rule. The drivers are prohibited from wearing jewelry in the cockpit while racing. While the rule was first introduced in 2005, Sulayem is believed to push the enforcement of the rule this season. The rule is somehow targetting Lewis Hamilton, who refused to remove his piercings. The Briton also suggested that the FIA should focus on bigger issues. However, the whole controversy goes back to Ben Sulayem’s first FIA gala in December, when Hamilton refused to attend. The FIA president responded to Hamilton’s absence and stated that there would be no forgiveness.
Will The F1 Restrict The FIA Next Season?
There have been a couple more issues in the championship so far. After crashing at turn 14 along with Carlos Sainz, Esteban Ocon suggested that the concrete barriers be replaced with Tecpro material, which was readily available as well. However, Ocon’s request was ignored by the FIA. Further, the 2-time F1 champ Fernando Alonso was also unhappy with the FIA. The Spanish driver was handed a penalty in Miami which he believed to be unfair and incompetent of the FIA. The Alpine director shared that when he and his team went to present the evidence after the race. However, the stewards had already packed up and were not present even in the room.
The growing negative publicity is coming at a time when the sport’s popularity is reaching new heights. F1 wants the sport to be as much accessible as possible, with the main focus on the racing track. Thus, the F1 authorities are unhappy with the FIA causing unnecessary distractions with their controversial conduct. Moreover, the F1 bosses are looking for ways to restrict the governing body’s responsibilities. In addition, the FIA is completely dependent on F1 for their income.