Shaila-Ann Rao no longer FIA's interim secretary general


The FIA has announced that Shaila-Ann Rao is no longer its interim secretary general and is leaving the FIA at the end of the season.

Shaila-Ann returned to the FIA to assist the new presidential team during the transition period as interim secretary general for motor sport, replacing Peter Bayer who had led the official investigation in to the events of Abu Dhabi 2021.

According to today's statement, "Shaila-Ann successfully managed this transition period, providing valuable support and assistance to the FIA President and the organisation during this period which is now coming to an end. Shaila-Ann will now therefore be leaving the FIA following the end of the Formula 1 Season. The FIA thanks Shaila-Ann for her support during this period."

"On behalf of everyone at the FIA, I would like to thank Shaila-Ann for her invaluable contribution in her role as Interim Secretary General for Motor Sport during an important transitional phase for the organisation," said FIA president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

"In particular, Shaila-Ann has provided me with great support in respect to Formula 1, always acting with professionalism and integrity."

The announcement comes days after Ben Sulayem dismissed speculation that Shaila-Ann was involved in leaking details of Red Bull's breaching of the budget cap.

Before joining the FIA, Shaila-Ann was general counsel for Mercedes and special advisor to Toto Wolff.

From the outset, there was objection to her appointment, led by Red Bull and Ferrari, who claimed that her connections to the German team represented a clear conflict of interest.

Rubbishing the speculation, Ben Sulayem claimed that Shaila-Ann 'sympathised' with Red Bull's plight.

"I'll be very honest with you, and I'll defend my opinion, but when it comes to Shaila-Ann, there were accusations that she is mainly a supporter of Mercedes," he told the media in Abu Dhabi. "But actually, when the penalties were there with both teams, she said that's a bit harsh.

"I looked and said: 'My god, there is someone who is accusing her of being with Mercedes, and she's saying to me that it's harsh on Red Bull'." he added.

Asked about her future at the FIA - remember, this was six days ago - he said: "Her position is interim secretary general, and the interim, what does interim mean? Shaila-Ann has been supportive a lot to me. You see her intelligence when it comes to setting big decisions for me.

"On the leak, we were in Austria, we were having the F1 Commission meeting, and while we were talking about it, it was already in the news," he said. "It's frustrating sometimes, because before you've finished your meeting, something has got out."

One gets the feeling that we may not have heard the last of this.

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Published: 26/11/2022
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