Stefano Domenicali responds to claims of tensions with FIA president

There are tensions between Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali and FIA President Mohammed ben Sulayem, according to reports.

F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali has denied rumours that his relationship with FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has strained, after revealing he speaks to Jean Todt’s replacement “almost every day”.

It’s been a politically challenging year for Formula 1, something which has often required involvement from the FIA.

The Saudi Arabian Grand Prix back at the start of the season was somewhat overshadowed, as during the opening day of the Grand Prix a missile strike at a nearby Aramco oil factory caused geopolitical issues for the sport.

This caused havoc, with drivers and teams having become concerned for their safety.

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The opening day of the Saudi Arabian GP saw an incredibly lengthy meeting take place into the night, which included all the drivers and Domenicali.

The budget cap has also caused issues for F1 and the FIA, with the rapidly rising costs around the world having put increased pressure on all the teams to work to a smaller budget than last year.

Fans have also caused issues, both through disgusting behaviour and protests.

Many messages have had to be released this season condoning inappropriate fan behaviour, directed at both other fans and team members.

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Silverstone, of course, saw protesters run onto the Wellington Straight, with it being an absolute miracle that nobody was hurt.

The 2026 engine regulations have also had to be approved, with Domenicali also being faced with deciding which manufacturers are suitable to join F1 from 2026.

Now the FIA’s superlicence system has become an issue, with IndyCar driver Colton Herta having been forced out of a dream move to AlphaTauri due to having insufficient points, despite being one of the strongest drivers across the Atlantic.

It would be easy to understand why there’d be tension between Domenicali and Ben Sulayem, with so much having happened following the disruption caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Ben Sulayem has faced a mountain of issues since taking on the role of FIA president, with Domenicali’s job having been no easier this season.

Despite it all, Domenicali insists that his relationship with the FIA isn’t strained, with it being important to “stay united”.

“F1 and FIA relations are the backbone of success,” Domenicali told Corriere Della Serra.

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“We have the obligation to maximise the commercial side, they are responsible for the sporting choices from the point of view of regulations, which now also concern financial controls.

“The new president took office in January, he is building his team. We talk to each other almost every day, the relationship must continue to be that while respecting each other’s responsibilities.

“The most important thing is to stay united and have a common vision of F1.”