FIA President cleared of F1 race interference allegations

Ben Sulayem allegedly tried to overturn a penalty handed to Aston Martin's Fernando Alonso at the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP, as well as telling officials not to certify the Las Vegas circuit ahead of the inaugural race

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The FIA has concluded its investigation into allegations of potential interference in sporting decisions during the 2023 Formula 1 season, clearing its President Mohammed Ben Sulayem of any misconduct.

It was alleged that Ben Sulayem tried to overturn a penalty handed to Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso at the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP, as well as telling officials not to certify the Las Vegas circuit ahead of the 2023 race.

Following a meticulous 30-day examination that included interviews with 11 witnesses, the FIA Ethics Committee unanimously found no evidence to support the allegations against Ben Sulayem.

“The FIA Compliance Department, supported by external advisors, conducted thorough inquiries over allegations of potential interference in sporting decisions during Formula One events in 2023,” a statement from the FIA read. 

“After reviewing the results of the inquiries, the Ethics Committee were unanimous in their determination that there was no evidence to substantiate allegations of interference of any kind involving the FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem on the grid before 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix | REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/Pool
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem on the grid before 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix | REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed/Pool

“Concerns over potential interference were brought to the attention of the FIA Compliance Officer and subsequently passed to the FIA Ethics Committee under Article 32.2.5 of the FIA Statutes.

“There followed a robust and wide-ranging independent review spanning 30 days, which included interviews with 11 witnesses.

“Allegations against the FIA President were unsubstantiated and strong evidence beyond any reasonable doubt was presented to support the determination of the FIA Ethics Committee.

“The FIA President was cleared of any wrongdoing regarding allegations (i) to have interfered with the Stewards’ decision to reverse an additional penalty on Car 14 following a challenge from the Aston Martin F1 Team at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2023 and (ii) to have attempted to interfere with the track certification process for the Las Vegas Grand Prix 2023. The certification was completed and approved in due time.

“The President’s complete co-operation, transparency, and compliance throughout the process during this investigation was greatly appreciated.”

John Smith
John Smithhttps://total-motorsport.com
Editor at Total-Motorsport.com and all round Motorsport journalist specialising in Formula 1, IndyCar and Formula E.
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