FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has handed the day-to-day running of Formula 1 matters to single seater director Nikolas Tombazis in a planned move.
Tombazis (pictured above) was promoted to the role in January, at the same time as a wider restructuring was confirmed that included the arrival of Steve Nielsen from F1 as sporting director. The structure gives Tombazis a more overarching position, having previously led the FIA’s F1 technical team, and that now will have him deal with the majority of F1 matters.
In turn, Ben Sulayem will be able to be less focused on F1 topics on a regular basis as the FIA believes it now has a more efficient setup in place, although the president will remain involved in strategic matters and key decision-making.
“The president’s manifesto clearly set out this plan before he was elected,” an FIA spokesperson said. “It pledged ‘the appointment of an FIA CEO to provide an integrated and aligned operation,’ as well as to ‘introduce a revised governance framework’ under ‘a leadership team focused on transparency, democracy, and growth.’ These goals, as well as the announcement of the new structure of the Single-Seater Department, have been planned since the beginning of this presidency.
“The FIA president has a wide remit that covers the breadth of global motorsport and mobility, and now that the structural reorganization in Formula 1 is complete this is a natural next step.”
Ben Sulayem sees his involvement in F1 in 2022 as necessary during a transitional year, having recently won the FIA presidency, but he now steps back at a time when he has come under fire from F1. The FIA World Motor Sport Council was sent a legal letter last month threatening action following tweets from the president about Liberty Media’s potential valuation of the company, and more recently the FIA was forced to defend his views after sexist and misogynistic comments surfaced from an archived version of his personal website.