FIA President Vows To Fight On After F1 ‘Attacks’

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FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem claims both he and F1’s governing body are being attacked by people trying to “destabilise me”.

It has been clear for some time that, under Sulayem’s reign, a power struggle has emerged between the FIA, F1’s commercial rights holder Liberty Media, and many of the current teams.

A whistleblower recently alleged that Ben Sulayem, a 62-year-old former rally driver, had interfered with a stewards decision at the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP – and also tried to block homologation of the new Las Vegas circuit.

An FIA investigation cleared him of wrongdoing, but several F1 team bosses have questioned the “transparency” of that process.

“I think we’re living in 2024, not 1984, which means total transparency,” McLaren CEO Zak Brown said in Melbourne.

At the same time, Mercedes team boss and co-owner Toto Wolff’s wife Susie has lodged a criminal complaint in the French courts. It comes after Ben Sulayem alleged the pair were improperly sharing confidential information via Susie’s new role with the F1-affiliated female series F1 Academy.

“Maybe the intention was to attack me,” Toto Wolff told the Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf whilst in Melbourne, “but Susie got involved.

“Her reputation has been tarnished – something she had to fight all her life for. So she will not accept that one statement and then thousands of articles will destroy that.”

Seven time world champion Lewis Hamilton even came out against Ben Sulayem in Australia, admitting he “never has” supported the current FIA president.

Ben Sulayem has now responded by writing a letter to hundreds of FIA members, claiming he is being attacked in attempts to “destabilise me” and question “the integrity of our respected organisation”.

He added that this “period of unprecedented turbulence and challenge” had “shaken the FIA”.

“These events have unfolded with one clear objective – to target the very heart of our leadership and undermine the foundation of our federation,” said the FIA president.

“We know that the ultimate goal of these reprehensible acts was to target me and to weaken the very essence of the FIA,” he continued. “Yet, despite these attacks aimed at my character and our organisation as a whole, we have emerged stronger and more resolute than ever.”

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