FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem is keen to see the governing body of Formula 1 make extra investment into stewarding on the single-seater ladder. The Premier League recently announced an injection of £25 million into grassroots refereeing to improve the standards of officials within the top-flight of English football. It is something Ben Sulayem feels the FIA should follow suit with, especially given the calendar expanse of recent times with 23 Grands Prix and six Sprint events scheduled in 2023, following the cancellation of the Chinese Grand Prix for a fourth successive year.
Ben Sulayem wants extra investment
Prior to the 2022 season, the FIA restructured race control at Grands Prix, with former race director Michael Masi relieved of his duties in the aftermath of the '21 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. In his place, Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas were drafted in as his replacements, alternating the race director role, with help from a VAR-style virtual race control to assist with decision-making. Going into 2023, Freitas will not continue on, leaving Wittich as sole race director, but given the increased workloads faced across the record-breaking season, Ben Sulayem wants to see extra investment. "I really do trust the current race directing and stewarding team," Ben Sulayem explained to media, including RacingNews365.com in Abu Dhabi. "We've brought two [people] in from the Premier League, and they are investing £25 million into refereeing - and you can call it stewarding, it is the same. "We have to invest more in our single-seater department - we have to have it and I am restructuring again. "We are not kicking anyone, but we are just getting more people to support it. "You are talking about 24 races and six sprints. "When I see some of our management and go and shake hands with them, we talk about human error - that comes from stress and overwork. "It is ongoing work. The development programme has started and phase one will finish soon. "Hopefully by the beginning of next year, we will have something. I am not giving up on it."
Ben Sulayem still in contact with Masi
Ben Sulayem also explained that he still communicates with Masi - who returned home to Australia following his departure at the beginning of the year. "I am still in touch with Michael - he has a lot of experience," he explained. "Maybe I would say that in F1 you should keep on doing your work and keep away from a lot of the media, because it can honestly get into your head. "Who are the superstars? No-one except the drivers and then come a few team principals to tell you the truth. "It is why I keep away from that because I have a duty to do."