A dispute over team orders between Max Verstappen and Sergio Perez at Interlagos led to a controversy within a controversy: rumors fueled by the Dutch press that Sergio Perez had voluntarily pulled off the track in Q3 at Monaco resurfaced. The Mexican would be suspected of missing the Portier corner to prevent Max Verstappen from completing the lap himself…
But we are still far from the sanction imposed on Sergio Perez, or even from the start of an official investigation.
So far, no one has taken over the FIA - and the Federation will not budge until new evidence is presented by an external third party, said Mohammed Ben Sulayem in the Abu Dhabi paddock. However, the head of the Emirates of the Federation also said that he is open to an investigation if necessary …
“No one told me that they wanted us to do an investigation. »
“But if there’s something worth investigating, we’re more than happy to do it. I would really say that if there’s a problem, I’m not afraid to investigate or jump in, and I’m not afraid. I won’t hide it. »
“I will even raise my hand and ask if there is a problem with the FIA. Otherwise, if I can’t do this, you will never improve and evolve. I can guarantee you that. »
Mohammed Ben Sulayem returns to the Abu Dhabi controversy
In any case, the last major effective controversy in F1 remains of course the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, with Nicolas Latif’s handling of the famous safety car brought onto the track following the Williams crash.
The FIA published a report on the incident: it acknowledged human error by FIA race director Michael Masi; but was frustrated by not offering a fully comprehensive analysis or promising Masi himself…because he had signed a non-disclosure agreement.
Again, the FIA was therefore accused of a lack of transparency.
But Mohammed Ben Sulayem (who had just taken up his duties at the FIA last year) made his mark in the paddock (half) of the same Yas Marina circuit a year after this Grand Prix. He assures that since then the FIA has moved towards greater transparency.
“When you said that in the report then, I understand you [d’Abu Dhabi] might not be enough. But transparency… it was a good attempt at transparency. »
“I inherited something. And I don’t blame anyone. But when I bought it, I learned more about transparency. »
“I had to change my leadership. So there were changes. There have been changes in the General Secretariat for Sports, there have been changes in many areas. Now we are making changes again because we are evolving. »
To give an example of the incident at Mohammed Ben Sulayem Suzuka (a crane on the track without a safety car) … this is perhaps not the most appropriate, as the FIA appeared in its report at the time. , puts the blame on Pierre Gasly.
“Now about transparency…. Maybe go to Japan and see the problem we have. »
“We produced a full report and then it was posted on the FIA website before the next race to make sure there was nothing to add after consultation. »
What are the future race directors for F1?
A strong decision by Mohammed Ben Sulayem after Abu Dhabi was to sack Masi and replace him with the Eduardo Freitas-Niels Wittich duo.
But the solution also failed: Eduardo Freitas was fired after the events in Japan. What’s more, Mohammed Ben Sulayem admitted that the duo was just a wrap… (we do better as a compliment)!
Mohammed Ben Sulayem then maintains his record at this other critical point for the FIA…
“We are on a learning curve. »
“First of all, Michael, I’m still in touch with him. Michael has a lot of experience, but I would say if you want to do your own thing in F1, you have to stay away from the media because they can honestly get into your head. »
“However, the process we have continues. And I would say we can’t rely on one or two race directors. What if something happens? »
“This sport is evolving and this is F1, we can’t run it like a normal formula. We have to run it like Formula 1. Believe it. It takes time. »
“But I have confidence in the current team with the race directors and marshals. »