Former Mercedes lawyer at centre of Red Bull F1 cost cap row leaves FIA

The FIA have announced that Shaila-Ann Rao has left her role as interim Secretary General for Motor Sport after six months. 
Mohammed Bin Sulayem (UAE) FIA Presi
Mohammed Bin Sulayem (UAE) FIA Presi

Rao was appointed to the position following the departure of Peter Bayer in June, having previously worked directly alongside Toto Wolff as a legal advisor for Mercedes. 

She immediately found herself at the centre of Red Bull’s F1 cost cap controversy after the team were penalised for breaching the $145m spending limit for 2021. 

Remote video URL

Red Bull expressed their worries that confidential information about breaches of the cost cap had been leaked to rival teams as early as the Singapore Grand Prix. 

"The accusations made in Singapore were extremely upsetting for every single member of staff, all our partners, everyone involved within Red Bull," said Red Bull team principal Christian Horner. 

"Obviously, any form of leakage is hugely worrying. It's something that we expect to be followed up.”

Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal in the FIA Press Conference. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22,
Christian Horner (GBR) Red Bull Racing Team Principal in the FIA Press…

Red Bull motorsport advisor Helmut Marko said it was “strange” how the leaks had emerged, alluding to the involvement of Rao in overseeing the process. 

Roa’s previous links to Mercedes had raised some concern from rival F1 teams but the FIA have strenuously denied any insinuation that any leaks over the cost cap came from within their organisation. The FIA maintain such insinuations are completely baseless.

Three days after the season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, the FIA confirmed her exit in a statement.

“Shaila-Ann successfully managed this transition period, providing valuable support and assistance to the FIA President and the organisation during this period which is now coming to an end,” the statement read. 

“Shaila-Ann will now therefore be leaving the FIA following the end of the Formula 1 Season. The FIA thanks Shaila-Ann for her support during this period.”

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem said: “On behalf of everyone at the FIA, I would like to thank Shaila-Ann for her invaluable contribution in her role as Interim Secretary General for Motor Sport during an important transitional phase for the organisation. 

“In particular, Shaila-Ann has provided me with great support in respect to Formula 1, always acting with professionalism and integrity."

Read More