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

FIA president Ben Sulayem at centre of further allegations over Las Vegas homologation

Further allegations have been made against FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem, this time claiming he pushed for officials not to certify the Las Vegas Formula 1 circuit, the BBC reports.

Mohammed ben Sulayem, President EMSO (UAE)

Photo by: Andy Hone / Motorsport Images

According to the BBC story, a whistleblower claims that they were told “on behest of the FIA president” to not homologate the street track ahead of last November’s inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix - a flagship event for F1 as it moved to promote the race itself for the first time.

This claim is included in a report, which the BBC claims to have seen, by the FIA’s compliance officer to its ethics committee.

There was a delay before the circuit was ready for inspection due to “ongoing local organiser construction works”. Thereafter, the whistleblower says they were contracted by their manager with the instruction from Ben Sulayem to find issues with the venue so it could not be declared safe. But no concerns were found.

This accusation appears to sit at odds with Ben Sulayem’s claims that he supported the homologation of the new track and that the relationship between governing body and FOM is much stronger than when he first replaced predecessor Jean Todt.

In an exclusive interview with Autosport's sister title GP Racing magazine, Ben Sulayem was asked whether the FIA and FOM must always agree. His reply was: “No. FOM has its points. But today, since I took over the presidency, we’re in a much better position together.

General view of the start finish line from above at the Las Vegas GP

General view of the start finish line from above at the Las Vegas GP

Photo by: Philip Hurst / Motorsport Images

“And if you told me that I could go back and change some of the things that happened, for example, when I got hit by the media – I wouldn’t change anything.

“Let me give you an example from Las Vegas... The president of the FIA is the one who signs the homologation for the new track, or for all the tracks. I supported it.

“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.

“At the end of the day, we’re in the same boat. We may have different missions. But we’re in the same boat. We cannot let the sport sink.”

Ben Sulayem has also been accused by the same whistleblower of attempting to get the race stewards to overturn a penalty that initially cost Fernando Alonso third place in the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP.

After an approach for comment by Autosport, the FIA said: "The FIA confirms that the Compliance Officer has received a report detailing potential allegations involving certain members of its governing bodies.

"The Compliance Department is assessing these concerns, as is common practice in these matters, to ensure that due process is meticulously followed."

Be part of the Autosport community

Join the conversation
Previous article How F1's mad tea-party driver market could look if Verstappen moves to Mercedes
Next article What Verstappen's outlook on racing in F1 says about his next move

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