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Formula 1

Mark Hughes: Expected major exits mark major F1 power shift

by Mark Hughes
2 min read

As of next season, Formula 1 technical matters are to be transferred from FOM to the governing body, the FIA.

This is partly in response to the planned retirement of F1’s chief technical officer Pat Symonds in the summer of next year and the fact that the current managing director of the F1 group Ross Brawn is only contracted until the end of next year at present.

The two men, together with FIA technical delegate Nicholas Tombazis, have been the architects of the new generation of cars that will debut next season. This joint project was based very much on the research conducted by FOM and as such was led and coordinated by that body.

Contrary to speculation, it has nothing to do with EU directives which only state that a governing body cannot have a financial interest in commercial aspects. There is nothing saying the promoter cannot be involved in the regulation.

The move to bring technical matters fully under the FIA umbrella is also believed to have been influenced by controversy initiated at the beginning of this season by Aston Martin boss Lawrence Stroll regarding his displeasure at the 2021 regulations.

Stroll contended early in this season after it was explained to him how the regulation change had impacted upon the competitiveness of the low-rake Aston Martin, that it was not acceptable for the promoter to be responsible for technical matters and took legal advice on it.

Motor Racing Formula One World Championship Saudi Arabian Grand Prix Race Day Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Nothing became of it but it’s understood this formed part of the impetus for the switch – which had been planned in outline several years ago but delayed by the transition from Chase Carey to Stefano Domenicali as CEO of the F1 Group under Liberty Media.

The teams have all been appraised of the change and have approved it.

Peter Bayer, current FIA secretary-general will be in charge of the three-pronged technical, sporting and financial pillars, with heads of each of those departments reporting to him. FOM will continue to be represented on sporting matters by Steve Nielsen.

These changes are due to be announced formally at the FIA World Council meeting later this month.

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