FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has found himself embroiled in a lot of controversy recently, as his comments online have not been well received by the public.
Firstly, the 61-year-old backed the Andretti-Cadillac project, despite F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali’s adamance that there were no plans to destabilise the sport by expanding the current grid.
The FIA president then Tweeted about Saudi Arabia’s $20bn rejected bid to purchase Formula 1, referring to this price tag as ‘inflated’, which left current owners Liberty Media furious.
To add further fuel to the fire, sexist comments from over 20 years ago have now re-emerged, with Ben Sulayem telling readers of his old website that he does not like “women who think that they are smarter than men, for they are not the truth.”
The BBC have now reported that is not just Liberty Media that are outraged by the FIA president’s comments, with an unnamed team boss also pushing for Ben Sulayem to be sacked.
“Everyone thinks he’s got to go. That is definitely the general view,” said the team boss.
Another senior figure has slated the FIA president, who is yet to even reply to the controversy surrounding him, instead letting the FIA issue a statement defending him against these sexist allegations.
“Those kind of comments bring down CEOs every day,” said the unnamed senior figure.
“What he really should be doing is back-pedalling and apologising. ‘I made those comments 21 years ago. I regret them,’… Whatever he wants to say.”
The FIA’s statement claimed that these comments from over two decades ago do not reflect the views of their president, who has been key to a number of FIA schemes aimed at achieving gender equality in motorsport.
Liberty Media have recently written a letter to the FIA to express their anger at their president’s comments about the value of Formula 1, claiming the Ben Sulayem is now liable for any damage that has been done to the value of their product by his comments.
With the start of the 2023 season only weeks away, these unsettled high-ranking individuals will be hoping to smooth things out with the FIA before focussing their attention on the Bahrain Grand Prix.