FIA And Liberty Media Look To End Power Struggles

Formula 1 2023: Canadian Gp
Formula 1 2023: Canadian Gp

Peace may be breaking out between Formula 1’s ruling bodies – the FIA, and the sport’s Liberty Media-owned commercial rights holder.

Ever since Mohammed Ben Sulayem took over from Jean Todt as FIA president in late 2021, he has been at odds with his counterparts at Liberty and Formula One Management – and many of the ten teams.

The new FIA chief, however, has so far weathered the storm of criticism, scandals and power plays that he claims were designed solely to destablise him.

On the Paris-based federation’s website, multiple letters of support for Ben Sulayem by voting FIA members have been published in recent weeks.

The latest, signed by members from the Asia Pacific region, claims they are “deeply concerned” about recent allegations of wrongdoing levied against Ben Sulayem.

But suddenly, as Concorde Agreement negotiations heat up ahead of the existing document’s expiry next year, Formula 1 and the FIA have issued a joint statement indicating peace in our time.

The statement said that as F1 “has never been so strong”, both entities “are committed to delivering the best outcomes for the whole sport”.

“To that end, both parties are developing a new strategic plan that will allow us to seize the opportunities and further enhance the potential for F1 in the years ahead.”

According to La Gazzetta dello Sport correspondent Salvo Sardina, the statement is a clear sign that F1 and the FIA want to move beyond their conflict.

“They are phrases (in the statement) that seem to clear the field of the various controversies between the FIA and F1,” he said, “protagonists of not too veiled clashes starting from December 2021.”

In Miami two weeks ago, Ben Sulayem said his relationship with F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali “has never been better than now”.

Sardina concluded: “Continuing the power struggle between the FIA and Liberty could in the long run have proved counterproductive for all those involved.”

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