F1’s Nielsen joins FIA to become sporting director

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F1’s Nielsen joins FIA to become sporting director

Formula 1

F1’s Nielsen joins FIA to become sporting director

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Formula 1’s Steve Nielsen has joined the FIA to head up all sporting matters in the role of sporting director, as the governing body updates its F1 structure.

Nielsen had over 30 years of experience with teams — mainly with Benetton and Renault before moves to Toro Rosso and Williams — before he was named F1’s sporting director in 2017. After five years in the role, he will now move to the FIA to take up a similar position, but this time to regulate the sport.

“I have spent my professional life working for many teams and organizations in Formula 1, and cannot wait to engage with another new chapter with the FIA,” Nielsen said. “I’d like to thank both the president and Stefano Domenicali for their trust in me, and I understand and appreciate the unique challenges that come with being the regulator.

“Having worked closely with a number of people in the federation over the years, I’m looking forward to tackling those challenges that lie ahead with them — Formula 1 is in a great place at the moment, and it’s our responsibility to ensure the future health of the sport that is at the heart of everything we do.”

Nielsen will report into Nikolas Tombazis, who has become single-seater director, and Tombazis’ reports will also include a new technical director in former McLaren engineer Tim Goss, financial director Federico Lodi and Formula 1 strategy and operations director Francois Sicard.

“I am excited and honored to be taking on this new position within the FIA, and very grateful to the president for the trust he is demonstrating towards me,” Tombazis said. “We have a group of extremely talented and dedicated people who work flat out to deliver the level of regulation that Formula 1 demands and deserves, and I fully believe this new structure will take our resources to the next level and allow us to make continual improvements.”

The changes represent increased investment and resources in the way the FIA polices F1, and President Mohammed Ben Sulayem says it was important to improve the governing body’s work on that front.

“We have dedicated a lot of time and effort to 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,” Ben Sulayem said  “By developing and empowering people within our organization, as well as bringing in expertise and experience from the outside, I am confident that we are in the best position possible to move forward together with our partners at FOM and the Formula 1 teams.”

The move comes with the blessing of F1, with Nielsen having been linked with such a switch before but deeming the time right to tackle FIA’s race operations.

“I want to thank Steve Nielsen for his hard work and dedication over the past five years at Formula 1,” F1 president and CEO Stefano Domenicali said. “He is a highly respected professional in our sport, and we fully support his move to the FIA. His skills and experience in Formula 1 will assist the FIA in its ongoing efforts to improve their operations during race weekends.”

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