FIA president slammed by MP for being ‘discourteous’

Mohammed Ben Sulayem has come under fire for a number of reasons in recent weeks.

It seems as if FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem cannot stay away from controversy at the moment, with his activity on Twitter in particular becoming a talking point.

The 61-year-old has gone against F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali by entertaining the Andretti-Cadillac project, which would see the current F1 grid expand to welcome the new team.

Ben Sulayem has also recently spoken about the value of F1 after Saudi Arabia had a £20bn bid rejected to purchase Formula 1 from Liberty Media, arguably overstepping his role as a regulator of the sport.

The FIA president has now landed himself in even more hot water, as Paul Scriven, a Liberal Democrat life peer has written a letter to Ben Sulayem to question his decision to ignore a previous letter, sent in March of last year.

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“Almost one year has passed since you received this letter, and yet, we have not had the courtesy of your response. Your failure to respond to our serious concerns is deeply discourteous and unprofessional,” he wrote.

“Why do you think you can ignore parliamentarians? Do you think that concerns raised over human rights and the policies of the FIA should be above scrutiny? We wrote to you in order to raise concerns that are in the public interest, and we expect openness and transparency from the FIA.

“For the sake of clarity, I still expect to receive a response to our letter dated 16 March 2022 and I am also making this letter open for the sake of transparency and public interest.”

Scriven then continued to express his concern about the new rules put in place by the FIA with regards to political gestures.

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F1 drivers will now need to seek approval from the FIA before making any political, religious or person gestures, somewhat silencing the likes of Lewis Hamilton who often use their exposure for good.

“It was with great concern that I learnt of the FIA’s decision to suppress F1 drivers’ voices from speaking out in what you deem to be political statements, a policy what will serve to shield F1 host countries from scrutiny over injustice,” wrote Scriven.

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“It is very clear to me that this policy targets Sir Lewis Hamilton, your most outspoken driver, whose comments on countries with abysmal rights records, particularly Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, would have undoubtedly not been well received by these corrupt and abusive regimes.”

The letter to the FIA president goes on to address his recent activity on Twitter, suggesting that his comments about the value of F1 are unacceptable.

Ben Sulayem is yet to reply to this letter and it remains to be seen whether the FIA will issue a statement surrounding Scriven’s comments.