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FIA take action to improve governance ahead of new F1 season

The FIA have revealed that a key decision has been made following an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council.

Hamilton Verstappen start Aub Dhabi
To news overview © Mercedes

The FIA have confirmed that an initial step has been taken in a bid to improve Formula 1's governance ahead of the 2022 season.

As reported by RacingNews365.com last week, the WMSC held an extraordinary meeting on Thursday, with various topics requiring attention before the new campaign gets underway.

The meeting was chaired by recently-appointed FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, who was joined by Deputy President for Sport Robert Reid, where a major decision was taken regarding the set-up of F1's governing body.

The new President has promised a root-and-branch review of the events of the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, including a full report into the contentious decisions made by FIA Race Director Michael Masi in the closing laps that impacted the outcome of the F1 Drivers' Championship.

At the meeting, a decision was reached to launch a "new and robust governance process" – this will include a fully independent financial audit of the FIA and the recruitment of an FIA Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

To that end, three separate working groups have been established. One will work towards the appointment of the new FIA CEO, another will work on the financial review, while a third will take on the responsibility of a deep-rooted governance review.

A working group is established

The working group established to tackle the governance review will aim to assist the presidential team in their analysis of current FIA governance and structure.

The intent is to make recommendations for changes going forward.

The aim will be to select an external, third-party governance consultant, establish a budget and timeframe for the review and recommend actionable decisions to the World Councils and the FIA Senate.

The working group will set about identifying issues with the FIA's governance structure, examine solutions for those issues and then outline roadmaps out of the issue.

The group will comprise a Chair, which will be the President of the FIA Senate, Carmelo Sand De Barros, the aforementioned Reid, the Deputy President of Automobile Mobility and Tourism Timothy Shearman, as well as two members from each of the World Councils.

Hiring a new FIA CEO

The working group established to help recruit a new FIA CEO will aim to assist the presidential team in determining the attributes such a CEO will require.

The appointed CEO will assume responsibility for the operational affairs of the FIA, with the working group helping to select an executive search firm, sorting a budget and timeframe for the recruitment, as well as recommending a candidate shortlist for the World Councils and the Senate to peruse.

The working group will be run by De Barros, Reid, Shearman and two members from each of the World Councils – former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone's wife Fabiana being one of those names.

It is understood that Sean O'Connor, who recently featured on the first-ever RacingNews365.com 'Power List', is a potential candidate.

FIA President hails "new era"

Ben Sulayem welcomed the decisions made at Thursday's meeting, with the President saying that a more transparent governance structure is a "key pillar" of what he aims to achieve in office.

"A new era has begun for the FIA, through the creation of a governance framework founded on openness and global diversity," he said.

"This is a key pillar of our strategy and I warmly thank the World Councils' members, who have approved the changes. Responsibility and authority of World Councils, which emanate from our members, will be increased.

"A more effective oversight model will be designed, stakeholders' priorities will be aligned, and a responsibly profitable FIA operation will be ensured.

"To reach these objectives, the Federation's governing bodies and administration will work closely together to make the FIA the global voice of motorsport and mobility."

The next meeting of the World Motor Sport Council will be held on 19 March, where the report into the investigation of the Abu Dhabi GP is expected to be top priority.

Further meetings are scheduled for 30 June, 20 October and 7 December.

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