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"No forgiveness" for Hamilton warns new FIA President

NEWS STORY
18/12/2021

Newly elected FIA President, Mohammed Ben Sulayem has warned that there will be "no forgiveness" for Lewis Hamilton if he breached regulations in not attending the official prize-giving.

Article 6.6 of the Sporting Regulations states that: "The drivers finishing first, second and third in the Championship must be present at the annual FIA Prize Giving ceremony."

However, the seven-time world champion opted to miss Thursday's event, as did team boss Toto Wolff, in the aftermath of last Sunday's controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

At a time Wolff is questioning if Hamilton will even return to the sport, such is his disgust and disillusionment at last week's events, the newly elected President of the FIA, Mohammed Ben Sulayem has heaped more pressure on the Briton.

"At the end of the day, rules are rules," said Ben Sulayem in his first press conference since being elected. "So we are going to look into the side of where the technical rules are there to be employed and was he in breach

"I have to look into it," he added. "Of course, we'll have to be also be following our rules, but in the meanwhile, it doesn't stop us from making a champion feel good about the sport, you know.

"It's easy to be nice to people and it is cheap to be nice. It's also to motivate people, but definitely, if there is any breach, there is no forgiveness in this."

Asked to clarify whether Hamilton could therefore face sanctions, Ben Sulayem replied: "Forgiveness is always there, but rules are rules. And I always say, rules are not made, a human made them and they can be improved and changed by humans. So the rules are there to be improved

"I know Lewis is really sad about what happened," he continued. "I would say he is broken. But we have to look into if there is any breach. After a few hours now as president, I cannot give answers without going back to the facts."

Should the FIA deem that Hamilton breached the regulations the most likely outcome is that he would face a fine, though this is still unlikely to sit well with the Mercedes driver following last week's events.

Referring to the events in Abu Dhabi, which the FIA admits have tarnished the sport, and will therefore be investigated, Ben Sulayem said: "It is a responsibility of me that we forget the past but look into it with improvement.

"We have to be proactive. We have to improve in every aspect. As a driver, I would be so upset for a while but time is a fact that will cool.

"Someone will always get upset," he added. "I spoke to Toto and he said to me, 'I am not coming here'. I listened to him. When I listened, he started cooling down.

"We will look into the rules and make sure any situation like this that occurs in the future we will have an instant solution to it. There are so many areas we can improve."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Defiant, 27/12/2021 17:52

"@kenji, you make a very good point there. Maybe, Merc and Sir VS knew they'd probably just get a fine and think its was worth it to give that one fingered salute.

Without question IMO, the FIA need to toughen up, but more importantly, they HAVE to apply every rule equally. I think the time for permanent race stewards was arrived at a very long time ago, and the fact that we still have ridiculous decisions from a multitude of stewards shows that more and more in this age of technology and broadcasting that highlights things all the time. (I still think transparency is a good thing, show it all, and do not let the teams lobby during a race)"

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2. Posted by kenji, 22/12/2021 23:31

"@ Defiant... Your dilemma is easily disposed of. Brazil was examined for all the elements of infraction ,and they are many, hence the deliberations and subsequent ruling with due deliberations detailed. The latest FIA Gala attendance infraction is a binary event. There's no need for any further discussion. He was either there or he was not! He was not unwell either and don't forget that both he and Wolff stated openly that they were not going to attend because their 'pride and sensitivity' was hurt!! That is a blatant and open defiance of the written rules and for the FIA to be consistent they should be penalised. In totality it is an extremely minor issue really but it is the 'intent' that is bothersome. To all intents and purposes this is a major global prestige manufacturer giving the governing body the 'finger'.If they can do it and get away with it what does that do to any future good governance? The FIA need to harden up."

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3. Posted by Defiant, 22/12/2021 20:21

"@kenji
I'm willing to hold out some hope along with you. I think it may be to no avail, but hope I shall hang on to.

I completely understand Lewis's mood on the matter, but the rules are the rules and if this new guy wants to actually follow every rule without bias or dark influence I'm all for it.

That way we can expect things like Max's move at Brazil or Lewis's move at the last race may actually get dealt with correctly in the future.

Now ive said all that, I also see a hole in my argument in the respect of, as Lewis's rule break was before his appointment, as was Masi's rule break, so how can he apply a punishment to one and not the other... hmmmm
It's a good job I'm not a lawyer or judge."

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4. Posted by kenji, 22/12/2021 12:11

"@ Bill Hopgood....I presume that English is not Sulayem's first language and some of what he said appears rather garbled however it's early days and I for one am fully prepared to live with his discombobulated language ATPIT just so long as he functions without fear and favour especially when dealing with some of the more 'mouthy manu's'. Some of these manu's have usurped too much control for too long."

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5. Posted by Bill Hopgood, 22/12/2021 8:13

"There's just the one part I don't quite get in what was said. The part after "at the end of the day...""

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6. Posted by kenji, 22/12/2021 4:53

"So IF Sulayem doesn't act any failure of drivers to attend any feature fixtures in the future can now be walked away from without sanction despite it being specifically proscribed in the FIA rules. That clears that up I suppose. Legal eagles just love supporting precedents. Flipping the FIA the bird is now all good. "

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7. Posted by Defiant, 20/12/2021 21:41

"So..
Ben Sulayem said: "It is a responsibility of me that we forget the past but look into it with improvement."
and
"Forgiveness is always there, but rules are rules."
AND
Newly elected FIA President, Mohammed Ben Sulayem has warned that there will be "no forgiveness" for Lewis Hamilton if he breached regulations in not attending the official prize-giving.
hmmmmmm, well that all makes perfect sense to me. NOT"

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8. Posted by elsiebc, 20/12/2021 17:09

"So who was the driver's steward for the gala? And why is this being investigated AFTER the gala? Could not this have been ruled on during the event so that we would know the results from the gala when it ended?"

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9. Posted by @R1Racing71, 19/12/2021 9:14

"Let’s see how the Hamilton camp deal with this….."

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10. Posted by rtw1951, 19/12/2021 4:07

"Who, exactly, is this midwit?"

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11. Posted by phantom, 18/12/2021 19:12

"I've heard more incisive comments from goldfish."

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12. Posted by Superbird70, 18/12/2021 16:06

"Probably best to focus on the correct application of the racing rules as opposed to the gala rules."

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13. Posted by RRZX-14, 18/12/2021 14:30

"He has bigger fish to fry than this. If this is an example of the "leadership" then nothing will change."

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14. Posted by Spindoctor, 18/12/2021 12:48

"And you thought Ronspeak was impenetrable meaningles jargon & platitude....."

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