FIA president sheds light on legal battle

Mohammed Ben Sulayem was appointed FIA president in December of 2021, following the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem was given a baptism of fire after his appointment as FIA president at the end of the 2021 season, as the 61-year-old recently revealed that he walked into a legal battle surrounding the Halo.

The FIA president was forced to lead the investigation into Michael Masi’s controversial safety car procedure in Abu Dhabi, that saw Max Verstappen snatch the title off of Lewis Hamilton, a process which has been heavily criticised for its lack of published conclusions.

Ben Sulayem is convinced that the FIA have improved the clarity of their investigations under his rule, using the crane controversy in Suzuka as an example of where the FIA conducted a quick and clear investigation.

The FIA has one of the most complex set of rules and regulations out of any governing bodies in sport and the 61-year-old has explained that this is why it takes a little longer for the FIA to evolve and grow.

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“The FIA is complex, I say. Why? Because if you look at another game, like football, I mean look at the regulations there. There is one goal size, there is one size of a football and there everybody is watching,” explained the FIA president.

“But look at the FIA. I mean, you look at karting, imagine the regulations that goes into it. Imagine all the disciplines, forget Formula 1, go to rallying and others. So every day is a challenge, but an enjoyable challenge.”

Ben Sulayem has suggested that he had to bring the FIA into the modern generation, claiming that they were at risk of being left behind by the ever-developing world of sport had he not taken action.

“I knew there must be a big challenge in the FIA, improving it, updating it to the new era,” he claimed.

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“Now it’s like a telephone, if you don’t update your telephone, you will be behind. Definitely the teams, the technology is going ahead and ahead and we have to not just up to that, but ahead of that.”

The FIA have had a much less controversial year to deal with in 2022, as Max Verstappen and Red Bull ran away with both titles, after Ferrari struggled to keep pace with the energy drink giants.

The Japanese Grand Prix forced an investigation from the FIA following race control’s decision to deploy a crane on track during extreme wet conditions, however, as Ben Sulayem suggested, this investigation was quickly concluded and the findings were published on the FIA official website for clarity.