In the heat of obvious tension with the teams and Liberty Media, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has confirmed he is taking a step back.
In recent days and weeks, the new-in-2022 president of Formula 1’s governing body has clashed with Liberty, the teams and drivers on a number of contentious issues.
But it seems one of the biggest issues was in fact the Dubai-born former rally driver’s personality.
“At the FIA prize gala, he started talking on stage about when he was driving rallies and you could see Christian Horner and Max Verstappen thinking ‘What the hell’,” former F1 driver Christijan Albers told De Telegraaf.
“I especially had to laugh at Stefano Domenicali. His face spoke volumes.”
Now, in a letter to the ten F1 teams, 61-year-old Ben Sulayem announced he is taking a step back into a less hands-on “non-executive president” role.
“Going forward, your day-to-day contact for all matters on F1 will be with Nikolas (Tombazis) and his team,” he wrote, referring to the FIA’s new single seater chief.
“I will focus on strategic matters with my leadership team,” Ben Sulayem added.
When asked about the development by the German newspaper Bild, an FIA spokesperson said: “This plan was clearly set out in the president’s manifesto before he was elected.
“The FIA president has a wide range of responsibilities that span the breadth of global motorsport and mobility and now that the structural reorganisation of Formula 1 is complete this is a natural next step.”