FIA and Formula 1 hit the reset button with ‘new strategic plan’

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After a lengthy period of public disagreements and controversial events, the FIA and Formula One Management are burying the hatchet and working together on a new "strategic plan" for the sport's future.

This newfound collaboration follows discussions between FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali.

Both parties issued a statement on Wednesday acknowledging F1's current strength and global growth, emphasizing their commitment to working together for the greater good of the sport and its stakeholders.

“The FIA Formula 1 World Championship has never been so strong and is growing globally and the FIA and Formula 1 are committed to delivering the best outcomes for the whole sport,” stated the governing body on its website.

“To that end, both parties are developing a new strategic plan that will allow us to seize the opportunities and further enhance the potential for F1 in the years ahead.”

The communication is succinct and offers no insight into what the two parties’ “strategic plan” might entail.

Nevertheless, it’s a welcome reset between two factions that have been at odds with each in several public matters and also behind closed doors for the past 18 months, with FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem seemingly trying to assert his power and influence, a management style that has not gone down well with FOM.

Tensions ramped up between Ben Sulayem and FOM in early 2023, when the Emirati commented on a rumored $20 billion buy-out of Formula 1, calling the potential offer “inflated”, which sparked a strong reaction and criticism from Domenicali

Thereafter followed FOM’s icy reaction to the FIA’s launch of an application process to identify prospective teams seeking to participate at a competitive level in the FIA Formula One World Championship.

The governing body eventually gave a green light to Andretti Cadillac’s entry only for the American team’s bid to be rejected months later by Formula 1.

There was also the case of the FIA’s short-lived investigation into a possible conflict of interest issue involving Mercedes F1 boss Toto Wolff and his wife, F1 Academy CEO Susie Wolff.

Although the FIA dropped its inquiry, Susie Wolff initiated legal action against the governing body. These proceedings are still pending.

Ben Sulayem himself was investigated, and ultimately cleared, by the FIA’s Ethic Committee for claims – made by a whistle blower - that he had interfered with race decisions.

It now looks like both sides are committed to moving forward with a united front, which should allow each party to focus on what truly matters – delivering an exciting, competitive, and ever-evolving Formula 1 experience to competitors and to the sport’s fans.

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