F1 contemplating FIA breakaway in response to Mohammed Ben Sulayem actions – F1 rumours

Sam Cooper
Stefano Domenicali, Mohammed Ben Sulayem and Greg Maffei

Mohammed Ben Sulayem has frequently clashed with F1's owners Liberty Media.

F1 owners Liberty Media are reportedly considering a breakaway from the FIA, having grown increasingly frustrated with the actions of president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

The governing body moved to the forefront of conversation once again this week after announcing an investigation into potential unauthorised sharing of confidential information.

The allegations have been denied by both Mercedes and F1 itself, with all nine of Mercedes’ rivals subsequently releasing statements denying involvement in complaining to the FIA, going against previous reports.

F1 contemplating breakaway from FIA says report

According to the BBC’s Andrew Benson, F1 owners Liberty Media are considering a breakaway from the FIA having grown frustrated with the actions of Ben Sulayem.

The BBC claims a “number of sources” were quoted as saying senior figures considered Ben Sulayem’s actions to be detrimental to the sport and that Liberty Media were considering breaking away from the governing body should the president continue.

PlanetF1.com understands this is not the case, however, given the nature of the Formula 1’s commercial arrangement with the FIA tying the two organisations together for the long-term future.

Ben Sulayem has had a year of upsetting the apple cart when it comes to the FIA’s and F1’s relationship. He started the year by suggesting a $20 billion price tag for the sport’s commercial arm was inflated before historical sexist comments attributed to the Emirati emerged from an archived edition of his personal website.

Ben Sulayem then vowed to take a step back from F1 but has been featuring more frequently at races recently.

The FIA has not stated who initiated the investigation but according to some reports, the president was the main driving force behind it.

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Ever since both were created, F1 and the FIA have butted heads on a number of occasions but it seems as if tempers are truly frayed now.

Previously, friends Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley were able to smooth things over but with new faces in charge, it remains to be seen whether a similar result will happen this time round.

The last time the sport threatened to divorce from the governing body was in 2009 when members of the now-defunct Formula One Teams Association threatened to withdraw in response to the proposal of a cost cap in 2010.

The matter was eventually resolved when the FIA agreed to scrap the idea.

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