McLaren’s Zak Brown pinpoints how FIA can improve trust and transparency

Off-track controversy has dominated the F1 headlines thanks to Christian Horner, Mohamed Ben Sulayem and Susie Wolff

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McLaren CEO Zak Brown urged the FIA to release more details into their investigations as part of a call for more transparency, highlighting how they could’ve for the investigation in Mohammed Ben Sulayem over alleged interference in a race result.

The integrity and legitimacy of the FIA overseeing F1 has been called into question in a damaging few weeks for the sports’ governing body that’s seen the on-track action relegated to fourth place on the agenda ahead of the 2024 Australian Grand Prix.

Susie Wolff launching legal action against the FIA just adds to the mountain of problems they’re facing after the complaint against Christian Horner for ‘inappropriate and controlling behaviour’ was elevated, forcing the FIA to act.

And while they cleared Mohammed Ben Sulayem for supposedly pressuring the stewards to remove Fernando Alonso‘s penalty and hand him a podium at the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP, there’s still precious few details on that investigation.

“Maybe a summary report would help us all understand a little bit more of what the concerns were,” Brown told the media. “And ultimately, that there were no findings and I think maybe just a little bit of a summary would give us a little bit more insight.”

Lewis Hamilton launched a stinging attack on the FIA earlier in the Melbourne weekend and when asked whether Ben Sulayem still has his backing as motorsport chief, he replied he ‘never has’.

But Ferrari boss Fred Vasseur wasn’t as critical as his former and future charge, admitting that stance may be naive.

“I don’t think that we have another option than to be confident,” Vasseur added. “We don’t know who is the whistleblower we don’t know what was the cause of the whistleblower, don’t ask us to have an opinion at the end.

“We have an opinion on the global system or not, but on this case, it’s quite impossible for us. And again, I’m probably too naive, but we have to be confident with the system.”

RB Chief throws support behind FIA

Zak Brown, Peter Bayer, Frederic Vasseur and Alessandro Alunni Bravi face questions for McLaren, RB, Ferrari and Sauber at the team representatives press conference before the 2024 Australian GP| Robert Cianflone/Getty Images / Red Bull Content Pool

Ben Sulayem was also cleared of attempting to prevent the Las Vegas Strip Circuit being ratified to host F1, in the same announcement from the FIA.

RB CEO Peter Bayer worked at the FIA for five years before joining Faenza, and launched a staunch defence of his former employers and colleagues.

“We have to have confidence in the organisation. It’s the same when we have a steward’s decision, sometimes we might not like the decisions, but ultimately we have to be happy with the process,” Bayer said. “From my time at the FIA, it is an independent body which is led by the Ethics Committee President Francois Bellanger.

“They have their independent findings and as the President itself was concerned, they were the ones who had to ultimately deal with the matter so, so again I think we need to have confidence. Another question we have to ask ourselves is what is actually the remit of the FIA, you know, they’re a regulator and legislator of motorsport?

“So some questions we might want them to answer probably they cannot answer, whilst others clearly they have to answer so on the ones they have to answer like, you know, a president potentially interfering into a steward’s decision. That is very, very important for us to have confidence and to trust them and yes, we do.”

Adam Dickinson
An international multi-award-winning journalist, Adam Dickinson has written for Total-Motorsport.com since June 2022 and also contributes to TNT Sports, Eurosport and the Rugby Paper. He's also had articles published in the Daily Telegraph and several local newspapers, previously worked for Last-Lap.co.uk and FeederSeries.net in motorsport, and graduated with a First-Class Journalism Degree from the University of Sheffield having also studied in Oklahoma. Adam started watching F1 by accident in 2007, catching the last race in Indianapolis, and attended his first race as a journalist at the 2023 British Grand Prix.
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