‘Stormy’ political times in F1 – report

Thu, 2 February 2023, 07:00

Feb.2 (GMM) A new front in the latest political battle between the FIA, Formula 1 and the competing teams has opened up.

Recently, the trio of parties have seemed at loggerheads over a range of issues – the most pressing being F1’s legal warning to the FIA over the issue of a potential $20bn sale of the sport’s commercial rights.

But now, Auto Motor und Sport claims a new row is brewing over the new 2026 engine rules.

According to the German magazine, the teams “are demanding that the fundamental decisions be approved by the Formula 1 Commission”.

“But at the moment (the body) has no mandate on the issue,” added correspondent Tobias Gruner.

Reportedly, the teams are arguing that the weight of the 2026 cars should be significantly reduced by slashing their basic dimensions, “but the topic is not on the agenda”.

Another argument about the FIA’s desire for active aerodynamics is also in play.

“At the moment the fronts are hardened,” Gruner said. “There are again stormy times ahead for Formula 1.”

But according to new Ferrari boss Frederic Vasseur, the current political disputes – especially the division between FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and Liberty Media – should soon become a side issue.

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

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

Vasseur also told Italy’s Corriere dello Sport that he is expecting a tough political season personally – and confirmed that since becoming Ferrari boss, he and Mercedes counterpart Toto Wolff “don’t talk anymore”.

“We will fight on the track, we will argue in front of the race management and the FIA, and also on the Concorde Agreement,” he admitted.

“But for the greater good, it’s an excellent advantage that there is collaboration between the teams. I have a good relationship with almost all my colleagues which I think is always a good thing.”

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