Sam Michael appointed as head of FIA Safety Commission

Sam Michael (AUS) McLaren Sporting Director. 30.10.2014. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 17, United States Grand Prix, Austin
© XPB 

Former Williams technical director and McLaren sporting director Sam Michaels is back at the forefront of Formula 1 after accepting the position of head of the FIA's Safety Commission.

Michael will take over the role from Sir Patrick Head as part of new FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem's far-reaching shake-up of the sport's management structure.

The Safety Commission is responsible for reviewing accidents, safety equipement and procedures across all forms of four-wheel motorsport, including incidents such as Romain Grosjean's fiery crash at Bahrain in 2021.

Michael was born in 1971 in Western Australia and grew up in Canberra before studying mechanical engineering at the University of New South Wales.

He first worked in F1 at Lotus from 1993, and moved on to the Jordan race team in 1998 where he was race engineer for Ralf Schumacher and then Heinz-Harald Frentzen.

He joined Williams in 2001 as senior operations engineer and rose to become technical director before joining McLaren in 2011 as sporting director.

He opted to leave McLaren and return to his native Australia in 2014 where he joined the board of the Australian Institute for Motor Sport Safety.

He also took a part-time mentoring role with Triple Eight Race Engineering as well as founding a machine learning company and lecturing part-time at the University of Western Australia.

In 2017 he became an advisor to the FIA’s Research Working Group that reviews new motor racing safety devices. He also has a seat on the FIA Single Seater Commission, which currently lacks a president.

Other changes announced to the FIA's management this week include a move for former F1 driver Felipe Massa.

Previously head of the CIK International Karting Commission, the Brazilian has now been appointed president of the Drivers’ Commission in place of Tom Kristensen.

Massa's former position at the Karting Commission has been filled by Akbar Ebrahim, former racer turned team owner, driver coach and current president of the Federation of Motorsport Clubs of India.

It was also confirmed that Deborah Mayer would take over as the president of the Women in Motorsport commission in place of rally legend Michele Mouton who announced in December that she was stepping down.

Mayer previously competed in GT3 before co-founding Iron Lynx Motorsport Lab, and also leads the Iron Dames project.

“I am honoured and very proud to start this new chapter as president of the FIA’s Women in Motorsport Commission," said Mayer.

“My passion for racing and the inclusivity of women in motorsport is something that’s very near and dear to me," she added.

"My desire to continue the great progress that’s been made within the FIA over the past few years is extremely high."

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