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The FIA has finally addressed the accusations of Ben Sulayem interfering with an F1 race.
F1 Sport

The FIA has finally addressed the accusations of Ben Sulayem interfering with an F1 race.

The governing body of Formula One, known as the FIA, has finally addressed the accusations made against its president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem. They have acknowledged the existence of a report that outlines potential allegations against some members of the governing body.

Based on a report from the BBC, Paolo Basarri, a compliance officer for the motorsport governing body, stated to the ethics committee that Ben Sulayem intervened to reverse a 10-second penalty given to Fernando Alonso from Aston Martin during the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

According to a report by the BBC, a person who exposed wrongdoing has stated that Ben Sulayem contacted Sheikh Abdullah bin Isa al-Khalifa, the FIA’s vice-president for sport in the Middle East, during the official race in Saudi Arabia. It is said that Ben Sulayem expressed his belief to Sheikh Abdullah bin Isa that Alonso’s punishment should be overturned.

Ben Sulayem has yet to reply to the BBC’s inquiries for a statement, however, Formula 1’s governing body did issue a statement yesterday stating, “The FIA acknowledges that the compliance officer has been presented with a report outlining potential accusations concerning particular members of its ruling bodies.”

The compliance team is evaluating these issues, as is standard protocol in such cases, to make sure that proper procedures are carefully adhered to.

Alonso’s penalty, which was given for repairs made to his car while serving a previous five-second sanction, was removed. As a result, he was able to return to the podium in third place, behind the Red Bull duo of Sergio Pérez (the race winner) and Max Verstappen (in second). Prior to the removal, Alonso had been demoted to fourth.

There was no indication of foul play at the time regarding Aston Martin’s decision, following a presentation from the team’s sporting director Andy Stevenson to the stewards for a potential review. If Alonso’s 10-second penalty had been upheld, Mercedes driver George Russell would have taken third place.

On Tuesday, it was reported by the BBC that another accusation against Ben Sulayem was made claiming that he instructed officials not to approve the Las Vegas circuit for the Grand Prix event last year. In response, a representative from the FIA stated that the approval process for the Las Vegas circuit was conducted in accordance with their protocols for ensuring the safety and compliance of sporting events.

“If you remember, the track was not immediately available for inspection because of ongoing construction by local organizers.”

The FIA has addressed the accusations against Ben Sulayem while Christian Horner endeavors to maintain his role as the team principal of Red Bull amidst allegations from a female co-worker. Horner has consistently refuted these allegations.

Source: theguardian.com