Exclusive: FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem says it’s been challenging yet enjoyable 11 months

Mohammed Ben Sulayem is doing well as president of the FIA. He wants to expand the sport worldwide and make it more inclusive, diverse, and equal.

Sulayem, who took over in December 2021, stated in an exclusive interview that the past 11 months have been both challenging and enjoyable.


The past eleven months have been difficult. Although there have been times when it has been stressful, overall I am enjoying it. I had to investigate the situation first. During the F1 Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2022 at Yas Marina Circuit, he stated, “What we see from outside before you go in is different from when you are already in.”

Sulayem stated that certain legal and financial issues had been resolved when he began his term, allowing him to concentrate on expanding the sport.

We are said to be part of an old federation. Although we are pleased that it is old, we should be proud of its age rather than its mental age. One of my biggest challenges was keeping the Federation up to date. Now that I’m in control of our finances, I’m happier. Furthermore, I am content with the legal issue. I can now concentrate on expanding the motorsport. We must examine diversity, which is extremely significant to us. He said, “It is a Federation for everyone,” and he said that giving women and members more power has always been a big part of the vision and how the FIA works.


Sulayem mentioned that he has made a number of improvements, such as addressing legal and financial issues, safety concerns like car bouncing on the Formula One track, and a new set of rules for the 2026 season, including the power unit regulation.

“Some of the rules we changed this year are still in effect for the following year, and the most important one is for the power unit in 2026. We have put in a lot of effort. After consulting with other teams, it is now clear. Therefore, signing is currently underway.

According to Sulayem, the sport was going through a “transition” phase as changes were properly planned and implemented, such as having multiple race directors.

When it came to race directors and stewards, we also had problems with our own human mistakes. We are at a crossroads right now. We have a legitimate program. We’ve got a plan. Planning to fail is planning to fail. We have a course of action. People were consulted. We can’t rely solely on two or three race directors. This is a massive enterprise. It’s a popular sport. Good race directors and stewards should also be rotated.

His term has been dominated by his skillful handling of the contentious season-ending F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix 2021, in which Red Bull’s Max Verstappen had the opportunity to overtake Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton on the final lap and win the championship. Michael Masi’s “human error” allowed for this.

Sulayem said that the incident was the end of a chapter when asked about it.

Let’s get this out of the way. Can we simply proceed? There has been sufficient backward progress. Yes, we encountered issues. I was the first to raise my hand and acknowledge that we made some human mistakes. To be honest, whenever we had problems, we filed a proper report and posted it on the FIA website. We have nothing to hide, therefore. And that is a brand-new way the FIA is run.

Sulayem lashed out against the cyberbullying perpetrated by drivers’ supporters on social media and noted that his staff had received threats.

“Yes, we respect constructive criticism, which I respect, but you can’t continue with social media, which is getting out of hand. I am extremely protective of my officials and staff. Threats were directed at some of my staff. I put the flag up. I will do everything in my power, working with the appropriate international media, stakeholders, teams, and drivers, to stop this and fight it. We can do that.

As the first non-European president, Sulayem said, he has been able to get things done by sharing his plans and agenda with other members.

I’m pleased with our accomplishments. It has been challenging. There has been a great deal of turbulence… there is turbulence. However, we examine it and accomplish things.

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