FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem rejects punishing Max Verstappen

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has acknowledged Max Verstappen's dominance but dismissed the notion of penalising success in Formula 1.

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has made it clear that he has no intentions of punishing Max Verstappen, the star of the Red Bull Racing Team, for his Formula 1 dominance. 

Verstappen has continued to display impressive form on the track this season and has already secured the 2023 F1 World Championship, adding to his titles from 2021 and 2022.

Ben Sulayem emphasised that penalising a driver or team for their dominance would be neither fair nor right, drawing comparisons to previous dominant eras in Formula 1. 

He stated, “It (F1 domination) has happened so many times – just look at [Lewis] Hamilton and [Michael] Schumacher. It’s a bit harsh and not right to punish success.”

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While acknowledging the current dominance of Max Verstappen and Red Bull, Ben Sulayem expressed his openness to suggestions for ensuring fairness and democracy in the sport without penalising successful teams or drivers. 

He made it clear that the FIA has no plans to penalise success, even if it results in one driver’s dominance, as it has happened twice before during his tenure.

Verstappen clinched his first world title in dramatic fashion in 2022, narrowly edging out Lewis Hamilton in the final race of the season. 

His second title in 2023, however, came with a display of sheer dominance as he won 15 out of the 22 Grands Prix. 

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In most races, Verstappen has proven to be unbeatable, crossing the chequered flag in first position in 14 of the 17 races.

This recent period of dominance for Verstappen and Red Bull coincided with regulatory changes at the end of the 2021 season, requiring teams to redesign their cars. 

The Red Bull engineering team has excelled in this environment, delivering a vehicle that provides Verstappen and his teammate, Sergio Perez, with a competitive edge over their rivals. 

Despite the absence of further rule tweaks, Verstappen’s dominance shows no signs of wavering.

Max Verstappen clinched the 2023 F1 World Championship earlier this month after securing second place in the Qatar Sprint race, the day before the Grand Prix. 

This unique situation allowed Verstappen to celebrate a championship win before the main event of the weekend had even taken place.

Reflecting on his third consecutive championship, Verstappen expressed his satisfaction with this year’s performance, deeming it the best year of his career. 

He explained, “The first one was the most emotional – that’s when your dreams are fulfilled. This has been my best year. 

“Sometimes I am not happy with the performance or how the weekend was going, but I always try to be perfect. 

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“I always try to be better every race weekend I go to. 

“I analyse my performance race after race, and the same this year. 

“That’s why I think this year performance-wise is definitely the best one.”