Formula 1

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem Addresses Controversies and Rumors in Formula 1

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem openly discusses the challenges and controversies he faces within Formula 1. In a candid interview, he acknowledges the existence of targeted unfounded news and accusations against him, while emphasizing his commitment to honesty in the sport.

Key Takeaways:

  • Ongoing Tensions in Formula 1: Ben Sulayem is acutely aware of the individuals targeting him with false accusations within the F1 community. This situation is fueled by the sport’s interconnected nature, especially after controversial decisions and incidents involving the FIA and Liberty Media.
  • Significant Incidents and Reactions: The introduction of Andretti Cadillac as the 11th F1 team and the investigation into Toto and Susie Wolff post-Abu Dhabi Grand Prix have been major sources of contention. Ben Sulayem, despite criticism, maintains a clear vision for the sport’s integrity and fairness.
  • Speculation of FIA-F1 Split: Amid rumors of a potential split between the FIA and Formula One, Ben Sulayem dismisses such ideas as unrealistic, underscoring the importance of regulated competition and fair play within the existing structure.

In a recent interview, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the President of the International Automobile Federation (FIA), discussed at length the various challenges and controversies he has encountered since taking up his role. This includes his awareness of certain individuals within Formula 1 who have targeted him with unfounded news and accusations. The F1 paddock, known for its small and interconnected nature, seems to be at the heart of these issues.

Last year, Formula 1, under the ownership of Liberty Media, faced two significant controversies. The first was the decision to introduce Andretti Cadillac as the 11th team, which drew criticism from the Formula One Management (FOM) and several team principals. The second controversy emerged after the Abu Dhabi Grand Finale, involving an investigation into Toto Wolff and Susie Wolff for a potential conflict of interest. They were, however, quickly cleared of these allegations within 48 hours.

These incidents have sparked speculation about the tensions between the governing body (FIA) and the FOM, leading to increased scrutiny of Ben Sulayem’s opinions in the media. Despite this, Ben Sulayem confidently identifies the sources of these attacks within the F1 community. In his words to Motorsport Magazin, “I know who attacks me. And they think I don’t know. Do you really think I would be in this position if I had stupid people around me? Of course, my team is very smart. The paddock is a very small habitat, everybody knows everybody… I know who is behind it and then I smile at them.”

Ben Sulayem’s focus remains steadfast on honesty in the sport. “I only ask for sincerity. I am not interested in the share price or ticket sales. We just need honesty. That is my mission,” he emphasizes. This stance reflects his dedication to maintaining the integrity and fairness of Formula 1.

However, the interview also touched upon the rumored possibility of a split between the FIA and Formula One. Ben Sulayem, addressing these speculations, remarked laughingly, “People who say something like that have no idea what they are talking about. Do they really think big manufacturers will start their own championship, with no party regulating?… Here there is a show, with a leadership, a show with rules. And here everything is monitored, so it’s fair. The rest is up to them, the teams and their driver.”

This statement from the FIA President underlines the importance of the current structure in ensuring a level playing field in Formula 1, dispelling rumors of a potential split and highlighting his commitment to the sport’s enduring success and integrity.

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