Fred Vasseur eager to move on from FIA drama

Frederic Vasseur was appointed team principal of Ferrari in January, replacing Mattia Binotto.

Formula 1 currently finds itself locked in battle with its own governing body, the FIA, after comments made by their president upset F1 owners Liberty Media.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem had already angered F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali by entertaining the idea of expanding the grid and allowing Andretti-Cadillac to join the sport, despite F1’s previous refusal to destabilise the current grid.

The 61-year-old then upset the current owners of the Formula 1 Group Liberty Media, by discussing the value of the sport in the wake of Saudi Arabia’s $20bn rejected bid.

Ben Sulayem suggested that this value is inflated, outraging Liberty Media who believe that the FIA president is now liable for any damages to the value of F1, claiming that he has overstepped in his role as a regulator of the sport.

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Sky Sports have reported that while there are positive discussions going on between the FIA and Formula 1, some high-ranking members of the current F1 teams are unhappy with Ben Sulayem’s personal management style.

When asked about the drama in a recent interview, new Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has suggested that the controversy will quickly become a thing of the past when the season begins next month in Bahrain.

“I’m really convinced that as soon as we put the cars on track, this will disappear a little bit off the screen,” he said.

“For sure we’ll have discussions but, as always, I hope that we’ll be able to stay focused on the sporting side.”

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Sexist comments made by the FIA president that have re-emerged from over 20 years ago have not helped Ben Sulayem’s case, as many are now calling for him to be sacked from his role.

The 61-year-old claimed that he did not like “women who think that they are smarter than men, for they are not the truth.”

While the FIA have issued a statement defending their president and claiming that these comments do not reflect his actual views, Mohammed Ben Sulayem himself is yet to respond to any of the controversy currently surrounding him.