Formula 1

FIA President’s Controversial Moves Shake Up Formula 1 World, Las Vegas GP in the Spotlight

In a recent flurry of controversies engulfing the Formula 1 world, FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem is now under scrutiny for allegedly trying to block the Las Vegas Grand Prix track from receiving Grade 1 status. This development follows on the heels of previous allegations involving the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Key Takeaways:

  • Renewed Controversy for Ben Sulayem: The FIA president faces allegations of attempting to hinder the Las Vegas Grand Prix from obtaining the necessary Grade 1 status for F1 races, adding to prior accusations regarding the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.
  • Whistleblower Revelation: A BBC report cites a whistleblower’s claim of being directed, presumably under Ben Sulayem’s orders, to artificially fault the Las Vegas track in order to prevent its approval for Grand Prix events.
  • Underlying Tensions Exposed: The incident sheds light on ongoing tensions between Formula 1’s owner, Liberty Media, and the FIA, with the Las Vegas Grand Prix seen as a key global promotional event for the sport, amidst FIA’s apparent efforts to increase its financial gains from Formula 1.

The recent BBC report, featuring a whistleblower’s testimony, alleges that instructions were issued at Ben Sulayem’s direction to sabotage the Las Vegas Grand Prix track’s certification process. This involved fabricating faults to prevent the circuit from being licensed for Grand Prix racing.

These allegations put Ben Sulayem’s intentions into question, especially given the significant role of the Las Vegas race, which was notably the first to be fully managed by Liberty Media, Formula 1’s owner.

Furthermore, according to the whistleblower’s account, these directives proved futile as no significant issues were found that could deny the track its Grade 1 status.

These new allegations surface shortly after another report by BBC on Monday. This earlier report revealed claims of Ben Sulayem’s interference in imposing a penalty on Fernando Alonso during the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

BBC obtained a report submitted to the FIA’s ethics committee by FIA compliance officer Paolo Basarri, detailing whistleblower accounts of two separate incidents.

The motives behind Ben Sulayem’s purported actions remain unclear. However, the Las Vegas race is a critical event for F1, and Liberty Media had invested heavily, around £500m, to utilize it as a springboard for promoting the sport globally. However, this scenario plays out against a backdrop of sustained tension between Liberty Media and the FIA, with Ben Sulayem previously expressing a desire to leverage more financial benefits from Formula 1 for the FIA. This contractual relationship mandates a yearly payment of about $40m from the commercial rights holder to the FIA for overseeing Formula 1 operations.

This unfolding drama in the world of Formula 1 not only underscores the complexities of the sport’s governance but also highlights the intricate balance between commercial interests and sporting integrity. As the situation develops, the global F1 community will undoubtedly be watching closely for further revelations and their potential impact on the sport’s future.

Related Articles

Back to top button