Formula 1 and Dakar. Two opposite worlds, two completely different ways of understanding racing and which, by nature and characteristics, will never find a point of synthesis. But, on closer inspection, there is something that unites these distant poles. In fact, these are events both organized under the guidance of the FIA. The Parisian institution has recently undergone a change of at the top management level: after twelve years with Jean Todt as president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem is the new person in charge of overseeing the top category of motorsport.
Mohammed ben Sulayem, also famous for his past in the world of rallying, attended the inauguration of the classic competition that is taking place in the Saudi deserts. And it was an opportunity to discuss the regulations that order the decision-making processes of Formula 1. Rules and related interpretations were highly debated after the last round of the 2021 Formula 1 Championship which led to appeals from Mercedes (later dropped) and to Lewis Hamilton’s long silence that made everybody lose track of him for almost a month.
The new FIA president, from the moment of his inauguration, has expressed himself without fear behind facade diplomacy. A fact to be read in a positive way considering that F1 is accused of being a sport obscured by thick reinforced concrete walls that conceal its functioning. A desired and now declared transparency operation has been expressed but one which, however, must become effective.
“The current regulation is not the book written by God. It needs to be improved”. Mohammed Ben Sulayem broke the dogmatic idea according to which the written text is immutable. The idea obviously started from what happened in Abu Dhabi because it is now clear even to the decision makers that something did not work properly in the last Grand Prix of the 2021 Formula 1 season. And the public letter that the International Federation issued a few days after those events demonstrates this quite clearly.
“I have only been elected FIA president for a couple of weeks – said the Emirati Sheikh and entrepreneur – and I am still analyzing what happened in Abu Dhabi. Formula 1 is a fast-changing sport and we must be in the same way, being more pro-active than reactive “.
The leaders of the FIA, therefore, want to address the thorny regulatory and procedural issue before the championship begins. Which, among other things, is specified in the press release referred to above. Among the issues to be evaluated there is also the one relating to the non-attendance of Lewis Hamilton at the FIA end-of-year gala. Which could have serious consequences for the British driver. The F1 sporting regulations, in fact, state that the top three in the championship must be present at the ceremony. The Federation seemed annoyed by Lewis Hamilton’s move and made it known that the issue will be addressed without letting it fall into oblivion.