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FIA appoints F1 Commissioner to help lead improvements

The FIA has appointed an F1 Commissioner to help with its strategies and improvements in grand prix racing, Autosport has learned.

Mohammed bin Sulayem, President, FIA

Former F1 journalist Dieter Rencken, who has been working as an advisor to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem for several months, will take up the role with immediate effect.

It is understood that Rencken will report directly to Ben Sulayem, and he has been tasked with assisting in the formulation and implementation of improvements for F1 on behalf of the governing body. The FIA is a separate organisation to F1's commercial rights holders FOM.

He will furthermore help with discussions over the framing of the new Concorde Agreement, the document by which F1 is run, which is expected to come into force in 2026.

The idea of the FIA having a dedicated commissioner for F1 was something that has been talked about several times in the past, with previous FIA president Jean Todt making it part of his manifesto when he first took office in 2009.

However, the plans were subsequently abandoned based on two separate grounds.

First, Todt found it impossible to find the right candidate because, as a non-profit making organisation, the FIA could not afford to pay enough for the best candidates.

Carlos Sainz Jr driving for Renault Sport F1 Team in 2017 alongside Dieter Rencken, Journalist

Photo by: Sutton Images

Carlos Sainz Jr driving for Renault Sport F1 Team in 2017 alongside Dieter Rencken, Journalist

Speaking at the time, Todt said: “We need to find somebody who is willing to give his time, with his capacity, almost free of charge.

“It is something that makes the choice more difficult but we are at quite a good point, and for me I prefer to wait a few months and have the profile I want to find rather than rush to fill the position.”

In the end, Todt completely abandoned the idea because he felt the commissioner role was not needed while F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone was so strong in running the F1 Commission.

Last month though, Todt's successor Ben Sulayem talked about needing to get more people working around him, as he declared confidence in those who were going to lead negotiations for the Concorde Agreement.

“It's not a one-man show,” he said. “I always go to our team. If you asked me six months ago, I would have said I don't have enough [of a] good team to negotiate this.

“We have a good single-seater [technical department] we have all of that. But when it comes to negotiation, negotiation is not technical people: technical people are about restrictors, about sound, about PU. That's not what exists with the commercial side.

“So now today, I have a good team. It's good to start now. But our house is not on fire. And the new Concorde Agreement should be fair to all of the three stakeholders: FIA, FOM and the 10 teams, if they are still there. That’s where then I think we will feel good.”

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