Binotto uneasy over FIA appointment


Mattia Binotto has admitted his unease following the appointment of a former Mercedes employee to the interim roles of secretary general for sport and F1 executive director.

Days after the Monaco Grand Prix, the FIA announced that Shaila-Ann Rao, who had previously worked with Mercedes and as Special Advisor to Toto Wolff, had been appointed to the interim roles replacing Peter Bayer as part of the restructuring under the new president.

Since 2017, Bayer had helped supervise the building of the single-seater pyramid from Karting to F1, the creation of the new World Rally-Raid Championship, as well as improving safety and sustainability in all disciplines.

The FIA confirmed that Rao had just returned to the FIA having previously held the position of FIA Legal Director from mid-2016 to end 2018, before spending the past three and a half years with Mercedes Grand Prix as consecutively General Counsel and then Special Advisor to their CEO & Team Principal Toto Wolff.

Asked about the departure of Bayer and the appointment of Rao, Mattia Binotto admitted: "It's a concern.

"I think she is a great person," he continued. "She's got a lot of experience. She will certainly be capable of doing the job, I'm pretty sure of that.

"It's a concern, but it's only a concern," he added. "I think it's down to them to make sure that there will be no conflicts of interest at all, to behave properly and it's down to the president to ensure it and I have trust that they will do it.

"As Ferrari, it's a concern but pretty sure that we will... through the behaviours, though the decisions they will prove it's a wrong concern," he concluded without a hint of irony, when one considers that the previous FIA president had overseen Ferrari's most recent 'golden era' - not to mention the fact that the technical boss from that era is MD and technical boss at F1 Towers and another former Ferrari boss now heads the whole F1 shebang!

"We enjoyed the collaboration with Peter," he said of Bayer, who had led the investigation into the events of Abu Dhabi. "He was always very transparent, I think fair between teams and rational in the way he was moving on with the topics and the subject.

"I think that there is a new organisation or reorganisation within the FIA," he continued, "it's down to the new president to move on, to decide his own team and we fully respect the choices. So I think in that we are accepting and somehow even looking at the future trying to make sure that we have properly collaborating and making sure that the FIA becomes stronger and stronger."

"We worked with Peter for quite some time and he was a rational guy," added Toto Wolff. "I personally enjoyed having him as a sparring partner but the FIA is changing its structure and its organisation and the president has to make his decisions and we certainly shouldn't interfere into any of those decisions.

"I think he has a vision about where he wants to have the FIA and if part of that is a change of organisation, we need to respect it.

"As for Shaila-Ann, she was at the FIA before she joined us. She was chief executive officer of one of the largest sports agencies before and what the positive is of having Shaila-Ann in this position, she's one about governance and transparency. She's a lawyer and I think this is something which we have always criticised in the past that things weren't always as transparent and as clear for the teams.

"I think this is one of the key topics that she will be trying to implement and that is good news for all of the teams."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Baku, here.

Article from Pitpass (

Published: 12/06/2022
Copyright © Pitpass 2002 - 2023. All rights reserved.