We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you’ve consented to and to improve our understanding of you. This may include adverts from us and 3rd parties based on our understanding. You can unsubscribe at any time. More info
F1 bosses are reportedly considering an attempt to pull away from the FIA as the governing body’s jewellery spat with Lewis Hamilton continues. There are growing frustrations over the FIA’s running of the sport, and the feud with Hamilton has been just one of a few examples where drivers have shared their discontent.
The ban on jewellery in F1 cars has been in place since 2005, but while leniency has allowed Hamilton to continue wearing it, new FIA race director Niels Wittich has insisted he obeys the rules. Last month, the seven-time world champion was handed a two-race notice to remove the ear stud he claims is welded into his skin.
The Mercedes ace could face punishment, including a hefty fine if it’s still on show for this weekend’s Monaco Grand Prix. But BBC’s F1 chief Andrew Benson has revealed figures are growing dissatisfied with the FIA’s running of the sport, and attempts are being made to push them to one side.
He told the F1 Chequered Flag podcast: “There’s widespread dissatisfaction amongst a lot of people in Formula 1 at the way FIA is conducting itself on a number of different levels. F1 are actively looking behind the scenes at ways they can sideline the FIA from the running of Formula 1 in any practical way.
READ MORE: Mercedes predict they will ‘close down’ Ferrari and Red Bull
“There are a lot of, what appear to be, isolated examples which all come back to the same general picture and dissatisfaction with the way that FIA is running Formula 1. From F1’s point of view, for example, it’s, ‘why did FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem delay the approval, and he still hasn’t approved it, of the increase in the number of sprint races for next season?
“From the drivers’ point of view, it’s the jewellery ban and the underwear situation and some of the things that Alonso brought up, such as the policing of the sport and safety, so on and so forth. Now we’ve got Red Bull saying, ‘are you sure you’ve done [the Aston Martin investigation] properly?”
However, while F1 is exploring the possibility of removing the FIA’s involvement in the running of the sport, Benson has explained how difficult it would be to isolate the governing body altogether. He believes the plan would see FIA take up a ‘ceremonial role’ rather than boasting full hands-on control.
DON’T MISS: F1 fans taunt Lewis Hamilton with George Russell banner at Spanish GP
“The FIA owns the F1 World Championship, F1 have the commercial rights, but they are leased from the FIA,” Benson added. “So it will be very hard to remove the FIA altogether. If you break away from FIA, you cannot use their championship titles. They would have to call Formula 1 something else at that point.
“What I’m told is F1 are looking if they can find a way to remove the FIA into a kind of ceremonial role. So they’re still there, Mohammed ben Sulayem can still turn up at races and be the FIA president, but in actual fact, they wouldn’t have any active involvement in the running of the sport at all. F1 would do all that, which is the plan. Whether it actually gets to that point, I don’t know, but it is certainly something going on in the background.”
See today’s front and back pages, download the newspaper, order back issues and use the historic Daily Express newspaper archive.