Breaking: FIA in turmoil as sporting director quits

Two key FIA personnel have quit their roles at the governing body just in December alone.

According to the BBC, Steve Nielsen has sensationally quit as the FIA’s sporting director, less than 12 months on from accepting the role.

Nielsen became the FIA’s sporting director in January this year but has abandoned the position due to reportedly becoming “unhappy”.

Reportedly, changes to race operations that were suggested by Nielsen were not implemented by the governing body, who were “not willing” to accept the recommendations.

The sudden exit has come as a shock to F1 drivers and the teams, who were largely supportive of Nielsen being given the role at the start of the year.

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Supposedly, many are “dismayed” at his sudden exit and are now “concerned” as to what’ll now happen.

Nielsen is the second high-profile FIA departure just this month alone, as Deborah Mayer recently quit her position as the governing body’s head of the commission for women.

Mayer and Nielsen departing will likely have sent shockwaves through the FIA, as it leaves them in a poor position ahead of the New Year.

Prior to becoming the FIA’s sporting director, Nielsen had been the sporting director for several F1 teams, including Tyrell, Benetton, Renault and Williams.

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He also worked for F1 themselves following Liberty Media’s takeover.

Nielsen’s and Mayer’s abrupt exits come at a time when there is more tension than ever before between the FIA and F1, after F1 Academy managing director Susie Wolff was accused of telling Toto Wolff “confidential” information.

The FIA released a shock statement based purely on one report and media speculation, where Susie’s integrity was unbelievably questioned.

Every F1 team jumped to her defence, in what was a huge sign of unity amongst the paddock against the FIA.

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All the teams made similar statements as they were accused of complaining to the governing body about Susie, something they all categorically denied.

Susie even released her own statement where she admitted that she wasn’t shocked to have her integrity questioned by the governing body, who are potentially set to have legal action taken against them.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem certainly has a lot of cracks to fix in 2024, something which’ll need to happen as soon as possible to reduce the chances of F1 attempting to break away from the governing body.