George Russell delivers clear stance on FIA’s Mohammed Ben Sulayem probe

Oliver Harden
George Russell arrives at F1 2024 testing.

Mercedes driver George Russell arrives at F1 2024 testing in Bahrain.

Mercedes driver George Russell has called for “total transparency” and a “fair and level playing field” in F1 amid the FIA’s ethics probe into president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

It has been alleged this week that Ben Sulayem is under investigation for allegedly interfering with an F1 race result, with last year’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix the event concerned, as well as apparently calling for faults to be found with the Las Vegas GP circuit to prevent it being granted Grade 1 status before its inaugural race.

George Russell comments on FIA investigation

It is alleged that Ben Sulayem, who succeeded Jean Todt as FIA president in December 2021, intervened to overturn a penalty given to Aston Martin driver Fernando Alonso.

Alonso was dropped from third to fourth in Jeddah last year after incurring a 10-second time penalty for work done to his car while serving an initial five-second penalty for a gridbox infringement.

That promoted Russell from fourth to third before the result was dramatically overturned hours later, with Alonso celebrating his 100th F1 podium finish. recommends

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Appearing in the press conference ahead of the 2024 Jeddah race, Russell – a director of the Grand Prix Drivers’ Association – has called for full transparency as the investigation unfolds.

And he claimed that he and Mercedes were left stunned that Alonso’s penalty was overturned last year, having felt the team had put forward a convincing case.

He said: “I think we want to see all of the facts and just have total transparency really.

“We’re all racing here, we want a fair and level playing field for us to showcase what we can do. I can’t really comment further.

“We were surprised a year ago when the result got overturned as the legal team at Mercedes thought they did a great job of presenting our case and initially winning the case and then losing it thereafter.

“We just want to see transparency and have that opportunity to race on a level and fair playing field.”

Russell’s stance on Alonso’s penalty appears to be in stark contrast to the position he held immediately after the race last year, when he hailed it as the “correct decision.”

Writing on Twitter in response to a post by Alonso asking the Mercedes driver to return his trophy for third place, Russell said:“P4 it is then!”

“Correct decision in the end but a shame for all the fans and everyone involved that we had all that confusion. Still a strong weekend. Let’s keep it going.”

The FIA has not confirmed that Ben Sulayem is the person at the heart of the allegations, but the governing body has confirmed an investigation is underway.

“The FIA confirms that the Compliance Officer has received a report detailing potential allegations involving certain members of its governing bodies,” read a statement from the FIA to

“The Compliance Department is assessing these concerns, as is common practice in these matters, to ensure that due process is meticulously followed.

 “It is unfortunate and a source of great concern that these matters have been disclosed to the media without any prior authorization and that certain elements of the report were inaccurately reported.”

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