FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem confirms surrendering of F1 control in letter

Jamie Woodhouse
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem. F1 Monaco May 2022.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem in attendance as FIA president at the Monaco Grand Prix. May 2022.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has surrendered his hands-on role with Formula 1 by way of a letter to teams.

The Emirati former rally driver has not shied away from the limelight since becoming FIA president in December of 2021, but this had been taken to a new level during the winter break ahead of the 2023 Formula 1 season.

Ben Sulayem and Formula 1 have not exactly been seeing eye-to-eye on topics like potential new Formula 1 teams and a rumoured sale of the series, while the FIA has also ruffled the feathers of several drivers with a ban on showing or making political or religious statements at any FIA-sanctioned event without their prior permission.

But Formula 1 is no longer going to be dealing with Ben Sulayem as a first point of contact, with a letter which he has distributed confirming that he is relinquishing hands-on control.

Ben Sulayem’s election as FIA president had come with his promise that he would settle into a more stand-off role when it came to his Formula 1 involvement, which he claimed in the letter, is the reason for his decision as the management group to handle the hands-on duties is now in place.

The 61-year-old has shown a readiness to use social media as an outlet for his views, causing a bit of a ruckus recently when he described a rumoured $20 billion takeover of Formula 1 as an “inflated price tag being put on F1”.

He also used that platform to express his disappointment in the frosty reception from Formula 1 to General Motors’ interest in entering the sport alongside Andretti.

Ben Sulayem’s letter, sent to team bosses on Monday afternoon, reads, as per Sportsmail: “My stated objective was to be a non-executive president via the recruitment of a team of professional managers, which has now been largely completed.

“Therefore, going forward, your day-to-day contact for all matters on F1 will be with Nikolas (Tombazis, director of single-seater racing) and his team, while I will focus on strategic matters with my leadership team.” recommends

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Sportsmail also cite a statement from the FIA which reads: “The president’s manifesto clearly set out this plan before he was elected – it pledged ‘the appointment of an FIA CEO to provide an integrated and aligned operation,’ as well as to ‘introduce a revised governance framework’ under ‘a leadership team focused on transparency, democracy, and growth.’

“These goals, as well as the announcement of the new structure of the single-seater department have been planned since the beginning of this presidency.

“The FIA president has a wide remit that covers the breadth of global motor sport and mobility, and now that the structural reorganisation in Formula One is complete this is a natural next step.”