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FIA President Ben Sulayem Steps Down as First Point of Contact for F1

Sulayem faced backlash over the ban on drivers showing or making political statements

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Aditya Saikrishna
Aditya Saikrishna
I am 21 years old and an avid Motorsports enthusiast.

UNITED KINGDOM: FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has stepped down from his hands-on role with F1 after a letter to teams confirmed his decision. 

The former rally driver has been controversial since taking on the role of FIA president in December 2021.

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Ben Sulayem has been in the limelight for his views on potential new F1 teams and a rumoured sale of the series, as well as for banning the drivers from showing or making political statements at any event sanctioned by the FIA without prior permission. 

His election as FIA president came with a promise to settle into a more stand-off role regarding his involvement in F1. 

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The FIA’s statement confirmed that Ben Sulayem’s decision to step back from his hands-on role in Formula 1 was part of his manifesto before he was elected.

The 61-year-old has used social media as an outlet for his views. His posts caused a stir with comments on a rumoured $20 billion takeover of F1 and his disappointment in the frosty reception by F1 and the teams to General Motors’ interest in entering the sport alongside Andretti.

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In his letter to team bosses, Ben Sulayem stated that his objective was to be a non-executive president and that recruiting a team of professional managers has now been largely completed. 

He also mentioned that from now on, the day-to-day contact for all matters related to F1 would be Nikolas Tombazis, director of single-seater racing, and his team. At the same time, he will focus on strategic issues with his leadership team.

A statement from the FIA confirmed that the president’s manifesto set out a plan for appointing an FIA CEO and introducing a revised governance framework under a leadership team focused on transparency, democracy, and growth. 

The statement also mentioned that the structural reorganisation in Formula One is now complete, making this a natural next step for Ben Sulayem.

The change in the FIA’s leadership structure comes at a time when F1 is looking to make significant changes, including potential new teams and a rumoured sale of the series. 

With Ben Sulayem stepping down from his hands-on role, F1 teams can expect a more hands-off approach from the FIA, as the day-to-day operations will be handled by Tombazis and his team.

The FIA’s focus on strategic matters and the appointment of an FIA CEO will likely lead to a more streamlined and organised approach to managing the sport.

As Formula One continues to grow and evolve, this change in leadership structure is seen by many fans as a step in the right direction to ensure that the sport remains a leader in global motorsports and mobility.

Also Read: DP World Revs Up Partnership with McLaren F1 in a Major Deal


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