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Sporting Director Steve Nielsen resigns from FIA amid race control reform dispute

Posted : 23 December 2023

Steve Nielsen has stepped down as the sporting director of the FIA, resigning less than a year after assuming the role aimed at enhancing the organization's race control systems. His appointment in January 2023 was intended to revamp race control operations, addressing previous controversies within Formula 1.


While no explicit cause has been disclosed for Nielsen's departure, sources indicate his dissatisfaction with aspects of his role. Reports suggest he felt the FIA wasn't sufficiently inclined to implement the changes he deemed necessary for an effective race control setup.


The departure of Nielsen, conveyed internally to the FIA on December 21st, marks the second high-profile exit from the governing body within a fortnight. Earlier in December, Deborah Mayer resigned from her position as the head of the FIA's commission for women. The FIA has yet to provide an official statement on the departures of Nielsen or Mayer.


Nielsen's resignation follows FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem's involvement in recent controversies. The FIA launched an inquiry into Mercedes F1 team principal Toto Wolff and Susie Wolff, the F1 Academy director, which faced resistance and widespread rejection from the teams involved.


Nielsen's vast experience in the sport, having held significant roles in teams like Tyrell, Benetton, Renault, and Williams before joining F1 in 2017, highlights his esteemed stature within the industry. He played pivotal roles, including navigating the challenges of organizing the 2020 F1 season amid the Covid-19 pandemic, showcasing his expertise and leadership in critical situations.


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