Lewis Hamilton explains why he is ‘quite happy’ with Mohammed ben Sulayem

Mohammed ben Sulayem took over from Jean Todt as FIA president in December.

Mercedes’ Sir Lewis Hamilton has empathised with the size of the task undertaken by new FIA president, Mohammed ben Sulayem.

The Emirati took the helm of the motorsport governing body after Jean Todt stepped down following his maximum term of 12 years.

He had to deal with the mess left behind after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, so he restructured race control by removing Michael Masi as race director.

The Australian was replaced by a combination of Niels Wittich and Eduardo Freitas, while Herbie Blash has returned as deputy.

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Shortly thereafter, he needed to confront the controversy around Russian and Belarusian involvement in motorsport following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as the threat of missile attacks in Saudi Arabia.

There was tension between the president and Hamilton earlier in the year when he enforced the regulation banning jewellery and other metallic artefacts being worn in the car.

With equality, the environment and social justice all on the agenda for Formula 1 in recent years, the seven-time champion felt that ben Sulayem should be focused on bigger issues.

There have been constant conversations about consistency in the stewards’ room too, so as the first nine months in a new job go, ben Sulayem has had a lot of plates to spin.

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Through the adversity though, the 37-year-old has built a strong rapport with the president.

“It’s not an easy role for anyone,” said Hamilton, quoted by GPFans.

“It takes time to get into a role, build all the relationships and implement change, but I think the most important thing for right now is the drivers. 

“We’re trying to build that connection, all of us, the GPDA, we’re all united, and we want to help make the racing better. 

“We want to help the FIA, and Mohammed has been really open with that, so we’re just going to continue to work on that communication.”

Hamilton is aware that he and ben Sulayem are both pushing for the same things.

“I’m in touch with him quite a lot, we actually speak quite a bit,” he added.

“He’s very, very driven, he’s competitive. He used to race himself, so he has sort of a competitor’s mindset. 

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“He’s also very keen on diversity and really pushing for future change, so he wants to collaborate with us all on that and I’m quite happy with it.”

Hamilton is currently sixth in the Drivers’ Standings after scoring six podiums in 16 races of the 2022 season.

The 103-time race winner, along with team-mate George Russell and Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz, are likely to see their mathematical chances of winning the title end at the next race in Singapore.