Subscribe

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe

Ben Sulayem cleared of wrongdoing after FIA investigation

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been cleared of any wrongdoing after allegations were made against him of interference in Formula 1 events last year.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President, FIA

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

The FIA’s Compliance Department had been looking into claims made against Ben Sulayem by a whistleblower about two separate incidents that occurred during 2023.

The first involved a suggestion that he had interfered with the stewards’ decision to reverse a penalty handed down on Fernando Alonso at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The second incident was at the Las Vegas GP and surrounded allegations that Ben Sulayem pushed for the FIA not to approve the track certification for F1’s newest venue.

However, following a probe by the FIA Compliance Officer and its six-person Ethics Committee, it was announced on Wednesday that there was no evidence Ben Sulayem had acted improperly.

The FIA’s investigations took 30 days to complete and included interviews with 11 witnesses.

In a statement issued by the FIA, it said: “After reviewing the results of the inquiries, the Ethics Committee were unanimous in their determination that there was no evidence to substantiate allegations of interference of any kind involving the FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.”

It added: “Allegations against the FIA president were unsubstantiated and strong evidence beyond any reasonable doubt was presented to support the determination of the FIA Ethics Committee.

“The president’s complete co-operation, transparency, and compliance throughout the process during this investigation was greatly appreciated.”

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President, FIA, presents the FIA Winners medal on the podium

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President, FIA, presents the FIA Winners medal on the podium

Photo by: Mark Sutton / Motorsport Images

The Saudi Arabia incident related to Ben Sulayem being accused of trying to get Alonso’s penalty overturned.

It was alleged that he called Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, FIA vice-president for sport for the Middle East and North Africa region and a close ally of his, who was present at the race, to help push matters for him.

Ben Sulayem had also been open about the approval for the Las Vegas track being his responsibility and said, if he had wanted to stop it getting the green light, then he had the power to do that himself.

Speaking to GP Racing magazine recently, he said: “The president of the FIA is the one who signs the homologation for the new track, or for all the tracks. I supported it.

PLUS: Why Mohammed Ben Sulayem believes his mission to create a strong FIA is so important

“I could have said no, [because it wasn’t ready in time for inspection]. But as soon as my team said it was safe... because I’m a driver, I care about the wellbeing of the drivers and the people around them, our staff and the marshals. I did it.

“It was a big thing. If I had said no, it would have been disastrous [for F1]. But it would have been legal. But I’m careful because I love the sport.”

Watch: Explained: Mercedes Grabs Resta from Ferrari in F1 Staff Swoop

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article Why Ferrari bucked the trend with its F1 2024 suspension choice
Next article The hardship behind Ocon's no compromise attitude in F1

Top Comments

There are no comments at the moment. Would you like to write one?

Sign up for free

  • Get quick access to your favorite articles

  • Manage alerts on breaking news and favorite drivers

  • Make your voice heard with article commenting.

Autosport Plus

Discover premium content
Subscribe