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Ben Sulayem has never had Hamilton's support

NEWS STORY
21/03/2024

Lewis Hamilton admits that he has never supported FIA president, Mohammed ben Sulayem.

The seven-time world champion's admission follows the news that Susie Wolff, the wife of Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, has filed a criminal complaint in France against the FIA following last December's aborted investigation into the pair.

Asked if the FIA president, who had only hours earlier been cleared of interfering in the result of the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and seeking to have approval of the Las Vegas circuit blocked, still had his backing, Hamilton was quick to respond.

"He never has," said the Briton.

"I'm incredibly proud of Susie," he continued. "I think she is so brave, and she stands for such great values. She's such a leader, and in a world where often people are silenced, for her to be standing up sends such a great message.

"I love that she's taken it out of this world, because there is a real lack of accountability here, within this sport, within the FIA, things that are happening behind closed doors, there is no transparency, there is really no accountability, and we need that. I think the fans need that.

"How can you trust the sport and what is happening here if you don't have that? Hopefully this stand that she's taking now will create change, will have a positive impact, and especially for women."

Though Ben Sulayem was not in charge of the FIA at the time of the infamous 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he did oversee the subsequent investigation into the events of that night, and neither Hamilton nor Wolff was ever happy with the outcome.

Hamilton, who earlier in the day had called for a ceasefire in Palestine, also alluded to the ongoing saga at Red Bull, and particularly the treatment of the female employee at the heart of the matter.

"It is still a male-dominated sport," he said, "and we're living in a time where the message is if you file a complaint, you will be fired, and that is a terrible narrative to be projecting to the world, especially when we're talking about inclusivity here in the sport. We need to make sure we stay true to the core values."

Naturally, teammate George Russell was keen to give his support to Ms Wolff's action.

"As drivers we have a role within the teams, and you trust that the leaders in this sport have the best interests at their heart rather than their own interests," he said. "I think it goes back to the transparency side of things.

"If things are transparent and we see the outcome of these cases, we all have a chance to judge for ourselves with all of the facts and figures in front of us. But when we don't have the facts and figures, and there is no transparency, you always think there's something being hidden.

"That's why I think it's so important for the sport now, as Lewis said, to send the right message to everybody who is supporting Formula One, watching Formula One, wants to be involved in Formula One, that things aren't just swept under the carpet."

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by trackrecords, 04/04/2024 16:16

"Hamilton has always had an almost older brotherly respect for Susie Wolff (nee Stoddart). Especially in 2003, when she took her maiden Formula Renault UK podium-place with 3rd at the Snetterton round. Hamilton, having been on the podium for 9 of the 11 rounds - he retired twice - was a dab hand at removing the cork from a champagne bottle. While spraying his bottle, he noticed that she was struggling to remove the wire cage so to be able to remove the cork. Gallantly, he offered to help her by opening up the bottle so she could join in the champagne-spraying celebrations. "

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2. Posted by trackrecords, 04/04/2024 15:41

"@Mad Matt Re, "automatically fired anyone if there were complaints made against them". Are you familiar with the BBC1 programme, 'The Apprentice'? A losing team contestant's days are numbered if a fellow team member makes an accusation about them be a 'loose cannon', and especially if the sizzling Baroness Brady remarks to Sir Alan by casting aspersions in someone's direction."

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3. Posted by Mad Matt, 22/03/2024 15:32

"Just to reply to my own comment: In case it's not clear I'm not accusing Lewis of anything, just pointing out that there are lots of wild accusations out there, especially surrounding people in the limelight... so we shouldn't react as if it each accusation were true.

We all know how it goes for some people, "my current favourite sport person was cheated out of a win", "are you blind ref?", "it's a setup" and many other less polite messages :-)"

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4. Posted by kenji, 22/03/2024 11:13

"@Spindoctor....Has the complainant been fired or not? If the answer is no then claims stating/inferring otherwise is distortion of the truth. I missed your comments re Ben Sulayem....."

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5. Posted by Spindoctor, 22/03/2024 9:27

"@kenji I see you're making pretty sweeping claims again: "the truth doesn't figure in his [Sir Lewis'] woke playbook" seems a bit of a generalisation & I expect his expensive lawyers are tracking you down as we write....

More to the point, I doubt anyone is particularly surprised by Lewis' "revelations". He's worked closely with Toto for many years & I assume he's consequently spent a fair bit of time in Suzie's company too. I see nothing particularly objectionable or unusual in calling for greater transparency; most of the pitlane is doing the same.
As @Max Noble suggests, even when\if this\these mess(es) are cleared up, neither RBR's, Liberty's nor FIA's carpets will be capacious enough to accommodate the sweepings. Whilst I'm not *that* interested in the gory details, it would be nice to have some insight into what the hell is happening & why.

I'm fully expecting the phrase "commercial in confidence" to start appearing as we move closer to an explanation. "

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6. Posted by Mad Matt, 21/03/2024 13:30

"Well, Lewis, would it be more just if we automatically fired anyone if there were complaints made against them? Think carefully before replying as I believe a lot of complaints have made against you in various corners of the internet :-)

PS. Wouldn't that then mean that The Wolf's should be fired after the complaint made against them?"

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7. Posted by kenji, 21/03/2024 13:13

"@Dirt. Yes, of course things would be very different/difficult but no matter what happens they always were going to be. Who knows just how it all started and how it will finish is anyones guess ATM. There are no winners.Taking it public ensured that."

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8. Posted by Editor, 21/03/2024 12:21

"@ Dirt

The Xmas party could certainly be awkward"

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9. Posted by Dirt, 21/03/2024 12:16

"@kenji: To be fair, is it realistic to think that the complainant will ever resume her work at RB? It is 100% correct that she hasn't been fired. However, the chances that she continues at RB are likely slim at best. How productive would she be in the awkward office atmospheric bubble she'd be in after all that's happened?"

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10. Posted by kenji, 21/03/2024 11:08

"@Max Noble...You're quite right. As the old saying goes, 'There's no show without Punch'. Hamilton is proclaiming a very basic untruth here. The complainant has not been fired! She has been, according to all the news that I've read, suspended on full pay. there's a world of difference but the truth doesn't figure in his woke playbook. I thought that public dissing on the FIA/ President could possibly be seen to be bringing the sport/business into disrepute. According to Hamilton he's 'never supported Sulayem'? So what was his dislike based on since before day 1 of the presidency? Very interesting comment."

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11. Posted by Chester, 21/03/2024 10:55

"Bizarre. What a side-show"

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12. Posted by Max Noble, 21/03/2024 10:40

"OK. Wow. Sir Lewis on record with a stance. What is going on here…? A major power battle where we, the fans, have no idea quite what the eternals are fighting over… We are going to need more than the clean up van from “The Gentlemen” to tidy up once this is all done… "

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