The FIA’s F1 structure may be on the verge of a reshuffle, with sporting director Steve Nielsen set to leave his position before the start of the 2024 season due to frustration with the way F1 operations were run. However, there has been no official confirmation from the FIA yet, but Nielsen’s departure appears to be final.
Nielsen was appointed to his position at the start of 2023, after a long career with several teams including Lotus, Tyrrell, Benetton, Williams and AlphaTauri. He worked closely with F1 competition director Niels Wittich and was responsible for all sporting matters in F1 at the FIA, including the development of race control and the remote operations centre, as well as future updates to the sporting regulations. However, following a challenging year for the FIA, which has faced criticism over several issues including track limits and the leadership style of president Mohammed ben Sulayem, highly placed sources including Motorsport.com have indicated that Nielsen has decided not to continue to go.
There are suggestions that he had become frustrated with the way F1 operations were being run and the direction in which things were developing. Although sources have indicated that Nielsen’s departure is final, there has been no official statement from the FIA on the matter, nor any indication of possible changes within its F1 operations. Nielsen’s departure, if confirmed, could be a major loss for the sports federation, as his vast experience was invaluable in helping improvements, and he was highly respected among the teams in the paddock. Nielsen was part of an extensive F1 team within the FIA that operated under the leadership of single seater director Nikolas Tombazis.
Ben Sulayem raved about Nielsen
Upon Nielsen’s appointment, FIA President Ben Sulayem believed his appointment was significant in moving the organization forward. “We have put a lot of time and effort into making significant, informed changes to our Formula 1 team to create the right structure with the right people to oversee the future regulation of the sport,” the Emirati said at the time. ‘By developing and strengthening people within our organisation, as well as attracting expertise and experience from outside, I am convinced that we are in the best possible position to move forward together with our partners at FOM and the Formula 1 teams to go.’
Update 13:55 (08/01) | Musical chairs at FIA continues: next leader leaves governing body
The next leader at the FIA will leave his post. The technical director of the single seaters, Tim Goff, has decided to leave his position at the governing body. This comes two weeks after the departure of Steve Nielsen, for whom the FIA has already found a replacement. Tim Maylon will take over as sporting director of the FIA. The BBC reports that Goff will most likely work for one of the Formula 1 teams. Goff has a past with the McLaren team.