Still recovering from the loss of Charlie Whiting, the FIA is revising its training programme for race directors.
It isn’t only Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s comments about Andretti and the monetary value of F1 that has got Liberty Media hot under the collar.
First there was the decision to veto the planned bid to hold six Sprints in 2022, not to mention the controversial events in Japan. And while Ben Sulayem wasn’t in charge in Abu Dhabi 2021 he was president at the time of the subsequent investigation.
With Michael Masi carrying the can, the decision was taken to appoint two race directors, the FIA president feeling that the work involved was too much for just one man, which, if anything else, shone a spotlight on the superb job Charlie Whiting had done for all those years.
Unfortunately, the concept of two race directors didn’t work, the main complaint being that the switching between Niels Wittich and Edoardo Freitas led to a lack of consistency.
As a result, this season we return to the single race director, with Wittich to continue in the role. However, with an eye on the events of December 2021 and the difficulty in finding a replacement for Masi the FIA is to hold a High Performance Programme for Officials in Geneva next month, with numerous stewards and race directors from various categories, including Silvia Bellot, F3 race director Claro Ziegahn and F2 race director Rui Marques set to take part.
“I inherited a lot,” said Ben Sulayem in Monte Carlo at the weekend. “I won’t say it was a good inheritance, but I am very happy that the pathway for race directors and for stewards is going well.
“There will be in February the training in the FIA headquarters, and you will see changes an evolution thereafter.”
Revealing that former rally co-driver Ronan Morgan will help develop the ‘pathway’ for new officials, he added: “You can say rally co-drivers are more structured than the rally drivers. They are very structured people. Very analytical.”
Other than the two-day event next month, there will be ‘experience building’ initiatives which will include participants attending FIA events where they will observe senior officials at work.
Also, the Race Director Seminar and International Stewards Programme, which are currently annual events are to be developed as a series of web seminars over the course of the year.