FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem will have a scaled back role in Friday’s prize gala after suffering a medical incident during the week.
The FIA said the president “took ill and suffered a fall and concussion” during the week and had been receiving care at a hospital.
Ben Sulayem also praised the medical staff and Mr Anar Alakbarov [President of the Azerbaijan Automobile Federation] and his team for their help and to those in the FIA family that have sent their well wishes. The FIA did however confirm that the 62-year-old would still play a role in the prize giving ceremony held in Baku.
Mohammed Ben Sulayem suffers medical incident before FIA prize gala
Friday evening sees the FIA host its annual prize giving gala in which Max Verstappen and Red Bull will receive their trophies but it comes under a massive shadow of the FIA’s own making following their investigation into Toto and Susie Wolff.
The sport’s governing body opened an investigation following a report from BusinessF1 magazine which claimed the two had been sharing confidential information.
After two days, the FIA ended their investigation but not before they had angered Mercedes, Susie Wolff and F1 itself.
Mercedes have now started what they described as an “active legal exchange” with the FIA after the incident.
“We understand that there is significant media interest in the events of this week,” said Wolff in a statement on Mercedes’ X account.
“We are currently in active legal exchange with the FIA.
“We await full transparency about what took place and why, and have expressly reserved all legal rights.
“Therefore we ask for your understanding that we will not be commenting officially for now, but we will certainly be addressing the matter in due course.”
Susie Wolff meanwhile demanded better from the governing body and said she would find out who started the process.
Wolff said: “When I saw the statement issued by the FIA yesterday, my first reaction was ‘is that it?’
“For two days, insinuations have been made about my integrity in public and through background briefings, but nobody from the FIA spoken to me directly.
“I might have been collateral damage in an unsuccessful attempt on somebody or the target of failed attempt to discredit me personally, but I’ve worked too hard to have my reputation called into question by an unfounded press release.
“We’ve come along way as a sport. I was extremely thankful for the unified support of the Formula 1 teams, I’ve worked so many passionate women and men at F1 and the FIA, who have the very best interests of our sport at heart.
“However, this episode has so far taken place without transparency or accountability. I received online abuse about my work and my family I will not allow myself to be intimidated and intend to follow up until I have found out who has instigated this campaign and misled the media.
“What happened this week is simply not good enough. As a sport, we must demand, and we deserve, better.”