New FIA president elected to succeed Todt

Henry Valantine
FIA president Mohammed bin Sulayem. Saudi Arabia December 2021.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been elected to succeed Jean Todt as president of the FIA, with the Frenchman having left after his third term in office.

Ben Sulayem, a 14-time Middle East Rally champion, has served as a vice president in the organisation since 2008 and has sat on the World Motorsport Council for the last 13 years.

He beat current deputy president Graham Stoker to the role with a reported 62% of the vote at the meeting of the FIA General Assembly on Friday morning, having announced his candidacy earlier in the year.

Along with his achievements as a driver, Ben Sulayem was the leader of the organising team which introduced the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix into Formula 1 back in 2009.

Ben Sulayem said upon his election: “I am very honoured to have been elected FIA President at the conclusion of the Annual General Assembly in Paris today. I thank all the Member Clubs for their esteem and trust.

“I congratulate Graham for his campaign and his engagement to the Federation. I wish to express my infinite gratitude in the name of the FIA and that of its Members to Jean Todt for all that has been achieved over the past 12 years. I am committed to pursuing the important work and make motor sport and mobility take further steps forward.”

The 60-year-old Emirati has also been the president of the Automobile and Touring Club of the UAE for 15 years, and was the first Arab to be elected as an FIA vice president when he earned the role.

Ben Sulayem also led the FIA Motor Sport Development Task Force launched in 2013, charged with the aim of creating a growth in interest in motorsport around the world in a sustainable way over the course of the following decade.

He also becomes the first non-European to take on the role, and was given the backing of Motorsport UK through his spearheading of the ‘FIA for Members’ campaign,

Todt added: “A chapter has come to an end. We can be collectively satisfied of our achievements in motor sport and safe and sustainable mobility over the past 12 years. I would like to warmly thank my team, our administration and all our Member Clubs for their unwavering commitment, enthusiasm and resilience. I congratulate Mohammed on his election as FIA President and wish him, his team, and the Federation the best of success for the years to come.”

 

Outgoing president Todt gave an emotional farewell speech after 12 years in the role at the FIA prize-giving ceremony in Paris on Thursday night, and Sulayem will now take the reins as the former Ferrari boss steps back from his duties.