Formula 1

FIA Counters Former President’s Financial Claims: Striving for Stability Amidst Challenges

The FIA has openly countered former president Jean Todt’s assertions about its financial health in 2021, labeling the situation as “unsatisfactory and unsustainable.” This comes after Todt claimed the organization was largely profitable during his tenure, a statement now challenged by current president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

Key Takeaways:

  • Former President’s Perspective: Jean Todt, the former FIA president, maintained that the federation’s finances were “largely profitable” under his leadership, except during the COVID-19 crisis. He emphasized the federation’s resilience during the pandemic, ensuring F1 remained operational.
  • FIA’s Counter Statement: Current FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem highlighted the critical financial deficit faced when he assumed the role in 2021. The FIA plans to release financial figures soon to showcase the real state of affairs during the transition period.
  • Financial Recovery Under New Leadership: Under Ben Sulayem, the FIA has reported a gradual reduction in operating losses, from €24 million in 2021 to €7.7 million in 2022, with further reductions anticipated in 2023 and 2024, aiming for a break-even by 2025.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) has been in the spotlight recently, following a clash of perspectives between its current and former presidents over the organization’s financial health. Jean Todt, who led the FIA until 2021, recently spoke with L’Equipe, reflecting on his tenure and the financial state of the federation. His assertion that the FIA was “largely profitable” during his time, with the exception of the COVID-19 crisis years, has sparked a direct response from the governing body.

In a bold statement, the FIA, under the leadership of Mohammed Ben Sulayem, has contested Todt’s claims. They emphasized that upon Ben Sulayem’s ascension to the presidency in 2021, the financial condition discovered was far from satisfactory. The federation acknowledged its struggle with significant losses, which contradicts Todt’s portrayal of financial prosperity.

The heart of the FIA’s mission, as outlined in their statement, lies not only in balancing the books but also in generating a surplus for future investments in safety, technology, and regulations. This financial strategy aims to strengthen the federation’s capabilities to support its member clubs effectively. The promise to release detailed financial figures for the years 2021-22 and the projections for 2023 in the upcoming extraordinary general assembly further underlines their commitment to transparency.

A closer look at the FIA’s audited accounts reveals a challenging financial trajectory. The federation reported escalating operating losses from 2019 through 2021, culminating in a €24 million deficit in 2021. However, under Ben Sulayem’s stewardship, there has been a notable turnaround. The operating loss was significantly reduced to €7.7 million in 2022, with an even more optimistic forecast for 2023. The ultimate goal is a financial equilibrium by 2025, a target that, if achieved, would mark a remarkable recovery from the depths of financial distress faced in the recent past.

This financial saga at the FIA underscores the complexities and challenges of managing the finances of a global sporting federation. It also highlights the contrasting perspectives of its leadership over the years. As the federation prepares to release its latest financial figures, the motorsport community and its stakeholders await with keen interest to see how the FIA navigates its path towards financial stability and growth.

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