Formula 1 letter to FIA president shows they’re in an ‘open war’

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has stepped away from F1 matters in the wake of multiple controversies.

The relationship between F1 and the FIA is at an all-time low, with the actions of FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem in particular angering F1 officials.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has previously shut down the idea of expanding the grid, claiming that there is no reason to disrupt the current stable 10 teams.

Multiple team bosses have agreed with this, telling reporters that adding another team would simply see the money in the sport split a further way, meaning that a grid expansion would cost the existing teams money.

Despite all of this, Mohammed Ben Sulayem has done everything in his power to approve the Andretti-Cadillac project and add them to the grid, claiming that it would be a huge positive for the sport.

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The FIA president then said that the value of F1 was an “inflated value,” after a $20bn bid to take over the sport by Saudi Arabia was rejected by Liberty Media.

This outraged the American company, who have written a letter to the FIA president claiming that he is now liable for any damage done to this value of F1 following his comments.

The FIA have also angered the drivers by banning political statements, in an apparent effort to please their host nations which have poor human rights records, such as Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Sky Sports pundit Karun Chandhok has described the relationship between the FIA and F1 as a war, claiming that these tensions could continue on for a while.

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“The relationship is on the edge between the FIA and F1,” he said on Sky Sports F1’s YouTube channel.

“Publicly, last year, they played nice. But we know, from behind the scenes in the paddock, it was all getting fractious. From the letter fired across, it is clear that it’s now open war!

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“The president of the FIA put strong tweets out which Liberty Media and F1 bosses did not take well. There is confusion. Ben Sulayem implied that the FIA have control over the value of F1 and what it should be.

“So Ben Sulayem is saying ‘we have control’ but F1 are saying ‘no you don’t’. This is going to rumble on.”

With the 2023 F1 season only weeks from getting underway in Bahrain, F1 will hope to have some clarity on their relationship with the FIA before switching their attention to the upcoming season.