FIA official Shaila-Ann Rao responds to issues over Mercedes favouritism

FIA interim secretary basic for motorsport Shaila-Ann Rao has rejected the notion she might present favouritism to her former employer Mercedes.

Rao was appointed to her present position by FIA president Mohammed bin Sulayem in June, however eyebrows have been raised because of her earlier profession expertise.

Rao spent greater than three years at Mercedes between 2018 and 2022 when she labored as basic counsel for the crew in addition to a particular advisor to crew principal Toto Wolff.

Earlier than that, she had labored as authorized director for the FIA from 2016 to 2018 however her appointment again on the federation was a trigger for concern for some within the paddock.

Talking earlier than the Azerbaijan Grand Priz shortly after Rao’s appointment, Ferrari crew boss Mattia Binotto mentioned it was as much as the FIA to show there was no want for issues.

“On the priority of Shaila-Ann, sure, actually, it’s a priority,” Binotto mentioned.

“She’s an incredible individual, she’s acquired a number of expertise. She will definitely be able to doing the job. I’m fairly certain on that.

“It’s a priority, however solely a priority. It’s all the way down to them to verify there will probably be no conflicts of curiosity in any respect, to behave correctly. And it’s all the way down to the president to make sure it. I’ve acquired the belief they’ll do it.

“As Ferrari, it’s a priority. I’m fairly certain that by means of the behaviours, by means of the choices, they’ll show it’s a unsuitable concern.”

Rao, nevertheless, has denied she’s going to present favouritism to her former employers, saying she doesn’t fear “about sure rumours” and is simply doing her job.

“Earlier than I labored for Mercedes I used to be director of authorized affairs on the Federation,” Rao informed Italian outlet Corriere della Sera. “The world of F1 is like that – you go from one crew to a different. It is filled with exes of one thing, even [F1 president] Stefano Domenicali is ex-Ferrari. However I don’t fear about sure rumours, I transfer on and proceed to do what I’ve all the time carried out – work.”

Rao joins at a troublesome time with six groups set to oppose a change by the FIA to the principles in regard to the bouncing of subsequent yr’s automobiles. The FIA have energy to implement that with out the groups’ consent if it’s a matter of security, however the six groups say they aren’t satisfied.

Roa although says it’s only a proposal and that they should intervene if security is at stake.

“In the mean time it’s only a proposal and has not but been finalised,” she mentioned. “And in any case, we work for the protection of the drivers. All the time. What would occur if we didn’t intervene when security is at stake?””


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