FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem reveals he could support plan for six sprint races next season
FIA president Mohammed ben Sulayem reveals he may support F1’s six-race plan next season… but denies claims he demanded more money to stage additional events
- The proposal was discussed at an F1 Commission meeting last month.
- The F1 Commission is made up of the FIA, the Formula One Group and the 10 teams.
- Ben Sulayem denies demanding more money in exchange for additional events
- He also insists that he will not be intimidated into increasing the sprints from three to six.
FIA President Mohammed ben Sulayem has revealed that he may still support an increase from three to six sprint races next season, but will not be intimidated into doing so.
Opponents accused him of being ‘greedy’ in demanding more money, which he denies, in return for holding additional events when the matter was discussed at an F1 Commission meeting last month.
The Commission is made up of the governing FIA, the commercial rights holders of the Formula One Group and the 10 teams, the three wings of the sport. Each has 10 votes and a large majority of 26 is required for the additional sprints to be adopted.
F1 Commission to vote on increase from three to six sprint races next season
Although the FIA blocked the plan at the meeting, Ben Sulayem said sports mail: ‘I support racing if it’s the right thing to do. I’m not saying it’s wrong. I am saying that there is time to decide. This is for 2023, not this season. Our house is not on fire.
‘We have what is called a democracy: Formula One (Group) has a vote, the teams have a vote, I have a vote. If you then say that I cannot abstain or take the time to study the proposals, then you are not allowing me the freedom of democracy.’
Ben Sulayem said he did not know who accused him of ‘greed’ in a leak to the press, but insisted: ‘I did not ask for more money, but if I had, I would have wanted to use it the right way: invest. in the correct regulation of the sport.
“We say that Formula One is the pinnacle, and it is, so at the FIA we need the resources to govern the technical and financial side of a billion dollar sport in a way that respects that. We need the ability to observe those standards.
A large majority of 26 out of 30 votes is required for the additional sprints to be adopted
“So, specifically with regards to sprints, I have to see if my gravel team can absorb the extra workload that racing would entail.
“After Abu Dhabi (when Lewis Hamilton controversially lost the title to Max Verstappen), people said we should change this or that.
So I don’t understand why we are suddenly asking the FIA team to do more. An incident happens in the future, like one involving a pace car, and then what?
‘We have to investigate all this and make a sensible decision. Let’s run our trade. Let’s fix it.’
FIA President Mohammed ben Sulayem says he will not be intimidated into organizing more events
Although Formula One Group contributes $40 million of its profits per year to the FIA, the organization suffered an operating loss of $27.6 million in 2021, during the last year in office of previous president Jean Todt.
Ben Sulayem promised to turn the financial situation around in two years and began with an immediate 25 percent cut in Todt’s presidential spending.
Meanwhile, the Formula One Group has decided not to replace the deleted Russian Grand Prix, originally scheduled for September. It means that the world championship will be organized in 22 races.