Ex-Mercedes advisor Shaila-Ann Rao speaks after high-profile FIA appointment
- Shaila-Ann Rao, a former Mercedes advisor is the secretary general for FIA
- Rao served as an advisor to the principal driver for the Mercedes team, Toto Wolff
- Redbull feels there will be a conflict of interest
Several Formula One teams have voiced their concern with the new high-profile role that Shaila-Ann Rao, a former Mercedes advisor, will have within the FIA.
Rao was just recently chosen as the secretary general of autosport, and she has categorically refuted any claims that her previous employers will receive special treatment in her new role.
Ferrari is one of the teams that has voiced their reservations with the appointment. In the past, Rao served as an advisor to the principal driver for the Mercedes team, Toto Wolff.
And because of this, she has been compelled to deny that assuming the new job will put her in a position where there will be a conflict of interest. Rao brings up the fact that some FIA personnel members have previously worked with various teams, including Ferrari.
In a rejoinder, she said that before her stint with Mercedes, she held the director of legal affairs position at the FIA. She noted that in the world of Formula One, you would move from team to team as part of your career.
“Before I worked for Mercedes, I was director of legal affairs at the FIA. That’s how the world of F1 works; you go from one team to another. It’s full of ex-employees; even Stefano Domenicali worked at Ferrari. I’m not worried about certain rumours; I’ll move on and keep doing what I’ve always done,” Rao told Italian radio station Corriere della Sera.
She spoke after news came after Ferrari chief Mattia Binotto confessed that he is “disturbed” with her appointment.
Binotto said that Rao is undeniably a wonderful person with a wealth of experience. While he has no doubt that she will execute her duties, there is the danger of conflict of interest.
“As Ferrari, it is a concern; nevertheless, I am sure that they will prove it is a mistaken concern through the behaviours and actions they do.”
In light of allegations that Mercedes and other teams are ‘lobbying’ the FIA to implement new regulations to prevent ‘porpoising,’ Ferrari is understandably concerned about the situation.
The bouncing phenomenon has had a detrimental effect on the performances of the Silver Arrows, and both Lewis Hamilton and George Russell have voiced concerns regarding the team’s level of safety.
The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) will listen to Mercedes to bring up new regulations for the 2023 season. On the other hand, Ferrari reportedly has plans to challenge that judgment since they believe the risks may be mitigated to some extent simply by altering the height at which the race is held.
Christian Horner, the team principle for Red Bull, has also voiced his disapproval of the alterations, prompting Toto Wolff, the team principal for Mercedes, to refer to Horner as “bored.”
In reference to Horner, Wolff stated that when one is running in the front, you simply want to make sure that nothing changes. Thus, he believes Horner is simply uninterested in being in the front, which is fantastic.