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"The integrity of the FIA will always be intact," insists Ben Sulayem

NEWS STORY
15/02/2022

As fans demand the FIA reveals the findings of its investigation into the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, FIA president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem insists that what matters is to protect the governing body's integrity.

Never mind the Sprints or the points allocation for events that don't go the distance, what fans wanted from Monday's meeting of the F1 Commission was the result of the investigation into the events at Abu Dhabi on 12 December.

When an official statement from the FIA merely reported that the "FIA president led detailed discussions" and "feedback from the commission on matters raised" would be "incorporated into his analysis" and he would publicly "present news of structural changes and action plan in the coming days", the reaction was immediate.

While sections of the (tabloid) media created deliberately misleading headlines, social media went into overdrive, with accusations of "corruption" at the FIA, while the hashtag #VoidLap58 trended, as fans called for the result of the race to be overturned.

As if what happened that evening in Abu Dhabi wasn't bad enough, the handling of the situation ever since has appeared to make things worse.

Ahead of the meeting, Toto Wolff and Christian Horner were seen arriving, with the media eagerly anticipating a showdown. However, later that same day came the news that the whole affair was still being considered.

Having effectively been thrown in at the deep end, Ben Sulayem is fully aware of the importance of how this plays out, but insists that the integrity of the sport's governing body is what really matters.

"We agreed on certain things, and the analysis is still going on, but it will come soon," he told Sky Sports. "It was a good discussion... information will be announced.

"But definitely, as we said, the integrity of the FIA will always be intact," he added. "I am elected to do that, but also to have a fair motorsport. That's my duty. So, it was a very good meeting.

"We went through a lot of important things for the season, so I expect a good F1 season. We can only go forward. This is important for the FIA, for the integrity of the FIA and for the sport. We can only improve the future."

Last month, Peter Bayer, the FIA official charged with leading the investigation in to the Abu Dhabi event, speaking to an Austrian journalist while the investigation was still underway, said there was the "possibility" of a new race director, as well as a restructuring of the entire race control process.

The FIA was quick to react to Bayer's comments, issuing a statement insisting that the affair was still under investigation and that no conclusions had been drawn.

While a number of paddock insiders, including the likes of Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, have spoken out in favour of Michael Masi, the pressure from fans and the media is unrelenting.

Meanwhile, the media continues to speculate, and while some believe Masi will keep his job, possibly with the aid of an assistant, others are claiming the restructure will result in a new race director, possibly two people sharing the role.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by kenji, 17/02/2022 10:13

"I'd be happy with a team of three on Sky. JB, Brundle and Natalie P. That'd do real fine. "

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by equator180, 17/02/2022 7:19

"It appears the vocal majority/minority on this platform would cheer with glee like twits of the year dancing around a campfire with marshmallows on sticks if Mr. Hill left Sky and he was elevated to Pres/ of the FIA.."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by kenji, 16/02/2022 7:22

"To support my previous post I would quote a headline that appeared in the Express on the 14th Feb. penned by Charles Bradley, [ I presume the same scribe that writes for Motor Sport ] for no other reason than to outline what's being said. It says, 'Verstappens world title under fire as Damon Hill insists that it was manipulated'. Now Damon Hill may hold that opinion but the statement is not qualified nor does it have any legal interpretation that defines it as fact. IMO that is not in any way justified considering the possible effect it may have by implying that the FIA is complicit. If the Express has simply conjured this all up then that's a different story.
"

Rating: Negative (-1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by kenji, 16/02/2022 2:13

"I am somewhat surprised at the level of animosity aimed at Sulayem. He's been with the FIA for at last 14 years, maybe longer, and as such he no doubt holds the opinion that the organisation needs to exhibit integrity beyond question if credibility is to be maintained. He's been in the job for 5 mins and already people are slagging him off? What he's doing is to carefully analyse the structure and then, if necessary, make changes yet people are calling him out before anything has been decided. IMO while this investigation is being undertaken he should also assess the rule where people making unfounded /unproved claims should be seen to be bringing the 'sport' into disrepute. Claims of conspiracy/manipulation should be challenged, legally if necessary and if found to be false then the pushers should be punished. "

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5. Posted by phantom, 15/02/2022 20:33

"Did he say intact or 'suspect?'"

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6. Posted by F1nerd, 15/02/2022 14:56

"Let's just forget the whole thing and move on. As long as from this year the rules and punishments are the same at all races for all teams/drivers.
Don't look back, look forward."

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7. Posted by Greg, 15/02/2022 14:16

"It's like the sherrif investigating his own police force. Nothing to see here. Move along"

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8. Posted by Roli, 15/02/2022 13:36

"Bit late there mate ! You lost the integrity of the FIA at Abu Dhabi, stop making excuses and do your job !"

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9. Posted by kenji, 15/02/2022 12:13

"@ Wokingchap..what is it that you seem to have objections to?"

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10. Posted by @R1Racing71, 15/02/2022 11:56

"Well, perhaps they could investigate and publish the engine telemetry from Checo's car while they are at it?"

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11. Posted by Wokingchap, 15/02/2022 10:53

"With these kind of comments Bin Sulayem could be the next for the chop. He's certainly started on the wrong foot."

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