Fernley will replace Stefano Domenicali, who will take up his new role as chairman and CEO of the F1 group next month.
Fernley was involved with the Ensign F1 team and Indycar racing in the 1980s before becoming a major player in Force India after his close friend Vijay Mallya bought the Spyker team in late 2007.
But he left in the summer of 2018 after the team went into administration and was reborn under the name Racing Point.
In 2019 he had a brief stint as head of McLaren’s Indy 500 program, which ended in turmoil when Fernando Alonso failed.
He is also involved in nurturing young engineering talent through an association with the National Center for Motorsport Engineering at the University of Bolton.
The position of FIA one-seat commission was held by Gerhard Berger before it was taken over by Domenicali.
“I think the rebel has finally entered the building!” Fernley told Motorsport.com.
“Of course, I’m following in the footsteps of two former Gerhard and Stefano. So a lot of work to do for my side to be equal and match what they have been doing over the years.
“It will take me a few months to get my feet under the table as you can imagine. But once we get started, we hope we can continue the good work they’ve done, and maybe go a little further. “
Much of the commission ‘s planned work has already been done in consolidating the one – seat ladder to progress through F4, F3 and F2. But Fernley says there are still challenges ahead.
“Clearly Gerhard and Stefano put everything in its place. But I think there is still work to be done, especially in terms of affordability. That’s something I really wanted for, even at Force India.
“I still see us continuing that process to make sure we get it as accessible as possible so that as many people as possible can take part.
“It’s about understanding where the departments are today, because obviously, I’m coming in new, and when people come in new you have a very different perspective. always on things, and you can look with new eyes, which is not a bad thing.
“But the most important thing is to continue that the stewardship is already in place, and work through from there.
“We still have some work to do, as it is clear that major licenses have been agreed by that commission. So it’s a pretty broad program. ”