German media report ‘Liberty want to replace Mohammed Ben Sulayem with David Richards’

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and F1 CEO Stefano Domenicali. Spa, Belgium. August, 2022

Mohammed Ben Sulayem speaking with Stefano Domenicali. Spa, Belgium. August, 2022

According to a report in German media, Liberty Media are eager to see FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem replaced in his role.

President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has made headlines for a variety of reasons in recent weeks, with the biggest furore caused when the FIA boss tweeted to express his misgivings about the apparent valuation of Formula 1.

This was after a report emerged revealing F1’s owners, Liberty Media, had turned down a buyout attempt from Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund, reportedly offering $20 billion to purchase the sport from the commercial rights holders.

This news prompted Ben Sulayem to take to Twitter, with the response from F1 being a terse letter written by Sasha Woodward Hill, F1’s General Counsel, pointing out that Ben Sulayem had performed an action outside his remit as FIA President.

In the days following this, the President also found himself in hot water over sexist comments that were published on a now-archived version of his website, dating back to over 20 years ago. recommends

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The comments read that his likes and dislikes were “basically simple”, stating: “I love the desert and I love meeting real people”, but also dislikes talking “about money, nor do I like women who think they are smarter than men, for they are not in truth.”

The FIA have since given a response on the comments, with a spokesperson saying: “The remarks in this archived website from 2001 do not reflect the President’s beliefs.

“He has a strong record on promoting women and equality in sport, which he is happy to be judged on. It was a central part of his manifesto and actions taken this year and the many years he served as Vice President for Sport prove this.”

David Richards linked with FIA role

According to reputed German journalist Ralph Bach, Liberty Media are eager to see Ben Sulayem, who took over as FIA President from Jean Todt in December 2021, replaced as the FIA’s head.

His report for suggests that former Benetton and BAR team boss David Richards, current chairman of Motorsport UK and Prodrive, is Liberty’s preferred option, with Bach suggesting that Richards has already signalled initial openness to the idea.

However, Ben Sulayem would have to be found to have committed gross misconduct in order to be removed from his role before the end of his four-year elected tenure.