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FIA appoints former Mercedes advisor Shaila-Ann Rao as F1 chief after Peter Bayer’s departure

Shaila-Ann Rao previously was part of the FIA as a Legal Director from mid-2016 to the end of 2018.

Abhishek Sandikar Author

Updated - 2 June 2022 3:01 pm

The Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) has confirmed the departure of their most senior F1 official Peter Bayer. He will be replaced by Shaila-Ann Rao, who was formerly Mercedes Team Principal Toto Wolff’s Special Advisor, for an interim period.

Bayer had been the FIA’s F1 executive director and was also the recently appointed head of single-seaters. He had played a key role in looking into last year’s incorrect execution of the Safety Car by the then race director Michael Masi.

Michael Masi left his role as the race director in February this year. Bayer then played a key role in the recruitment of Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas as the race directors, and the creation of a remote operations centre (ROC) at the FIA’s Geneva headquarters.

Shaila-Ann Rao previously was part of the FIA as a Legal Director from mid-2016 to the end of 2018. She then worked with Mercedes Grand Prix Limited as consecutively General Counsel and then Special Advisor to their CEO & Team Principal Toto Wolff over the past three and a half years.

The FIA released a statement addressing the departure of Peter Bayer and thanked him for contributions across the various disciplines of motorsports like karting, F1 and Rally. The statement said, “The Federation Internationale de l’Automobile announces the departure of Peter Bayer, who served as Secretary-General for Sport since 2017 and also as F1 Executive Director since 2021,” read a short statement from the governing body.

“The FIA warmly thanks him for the achievements he has contributed to the development of motorsport over the last five years. In particular, he has supervised, with the entire Sport Division, the building of the single-seater pyramid from Karting to F1, the creation of the new World Rally-Raid Championship, as well as improving safety and sustainability in all disciplines. The FIA wishes him all the best for the future.”

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