FIA: Donnelly out of F1

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In an interesting twist, it seems that Alan Donnelly will not be overseeing the steward program for 2010. According to the magnificent bastards at AUTOSPORT (particularly the demonstrably talent Mr. Noble) the FIA has removed Donnelly from his role as non-voting chairman of the Formula 1 race stewards.

FIA President Jean Todt has been mixing things up recently and one of his professed plans was to have an F1 commissioner that oversees the steward program and F1 in general. Apparently part of the FIA reshuffling of management has found a new home in the mobility arm of the FIA for Mr. Donnelly.

It also has come to light, via the same article at AUTOSPORT, that former Jaguar team principle Tony Purnell will also be set out to pasture.

“Tony Purnell is no longer working with us as a consultant and we wish him well for the future.

“We are currently focusing on developing and strengthening our in-house expertise and in this regard Bernard Niclot, former Research and Development Manager at PSA Peugeot Citroen, has been appointed as a senior Technical Adviser and Gilles Simon, former head of the Engine and Electronics department for the Ferrari Formula One team, has been appointed to a new FIA position as Director of Powertrain and Electronics.

AUTOSPORT’s Mr. Noble reckons this is a sign of the Todt regime changing things up in a management reshuffling intent on improving the way the FIA operates and we, at F1B, would concur with Mr. Noble’s assessment. That’s not a big leap of faith as I rarely find myself disagreeing with Noble on many things in F1.

Could this be a new look for the FIA? Is Todt coming through and making hard decisions based upon his manifesto? We certainly hope so and contrary to our endorsement of Ari Vatanen, we think Jean Todt is a capable person who has capable programs for success. Unlike his predecessor, we think Todt is trenchant in his approach to success but less motivated by the legal and political scandal that has marred the FIA for the past decade.

Donnelly came under serious scrutiny last year when the Formula One Teams’ Association (FOTA) suggested a conflict of interest in his role as former FIA president Max Mosley’s representative. No surprise that Donnelly was Mosley’s man and that the FOTA/FIA war saw him steeped in legal and political activities to further the Mosely regime’s cause.

But is the Todt era going to be different? Does the removal of legacy Mosley pundits make you feel any better about where the FIA is heading and how effective it will be as a regulatory body for F1 instead of a bludgeoning weapon for commercial rights holder CVC Capital Partners? What do you think?

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