FIA president no-shows at key meeting amid F1 tensions

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem announced recently that he'd be handing over the day-to-day running of Formula 1.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem was noticeably absent from the first Formula 1 commission of the 2023 season, marking the first sign of what life at the pinnacle of motorsport will be like with the president having stepped back from the sport.

Leading the meeting were F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and new FIA single-seater director Nikolas Tombazis, who was handed responsibility for the day-to-day running of the sport by Ben Sulayem ahead of the forthcoming season.

The F1 commission is a body to form the rules of the sport, with several topics having been discussed ahead of the Bahrain Grand Prix next weekend.

A key change that was made during the commission was the wording which resulted in mass confusion at the Japanese Grand Prix, where Max Verstappen won his second consecutive Drivers’ Championship.

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The wording has been changed to simplify how many points can be awarded depending on how much of the race has been completed, with full points having been awarded at Suzuka despite very little of the race having actually been run.

As well as this, new wet-weather tyres were given the green-light and will be introduced at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix, whilst bodywork to reduce spray and improve visibility in the wet was also discussed.

Several track modifications were also granted permission, with Azerbaijan and Miami set to complete a full resurfacing.

Further changes are also set to be made to the Jeddah Corniche Circuit in Saudi Arabia, to improve corner visibility.

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Following complaints by several teams at the Dutch Grand Prix last season, the space between each pit stop position will also be increased, with Carlos Sainz having run over a wheel gun at Zandvoort last year.

READ: Max Verstappen to go up against Lionel Messi

A winter shut-down has also been pencilled in, in what will be somewhat of a replica of the summer break, where all the teams and power unit suppliers are forced to close for a set period of time.

Following the first F1 commission of the year, everything that was agreed and granted will be officially confirmed by the World Motorsport Council, which Ben Sulayem chairs.

It means that despite having been absent from the meeting, the FIA president will ultimately have the final say on whether everything discussed is granted approval.