Mohammed ben Sulayem has revealed the state of the FIA’s relationship with Formula 1, amid speculation over growing tension between the two parties.
F1’s governing body has come under scrutiny throughout the 2022 season over its handling of political issues, such as the Red Bull cost cap saga and Sprint races.
Speaking to media, and when asked by RacingNews365.comPresident Ben Sulayem clarified that the relationship between the FIA and Formula One Management (FOM) is on good terms and that he speaks to F1 Chief Executive Officer Stefano Domenicali almost every day.
“I speak to Stefano every two days and if I don’t, he calls me,” Ben Sulayem explained.
“This is the way, even before any meeting or decisions – it’s like a marriage that is going to last.
“I am in a very good professional and personal relationship with FOM.”
Ben Sulayem: People don’t understand the pressure that goes into the staff or the officials
Earlier in the season, the FIA was accused of ‘greed’ for holding back the decision to increase the amount of Sprint races for 2023 to six.
Despite the teams unanimously backing the proposal from FOM, there was reportedly a ‘split’ between the highest levels of the FIA - which later issued a statement that it was “still evaluating” the proposal.
However, Ben Sulayem denied such a rift existed and explained the misunderstanding.
“People assumed that, when I said about the three extra Sprint races, there was a split between FIA and FOM,” he said.
“That’s where it started, it was April 25th and the F1 Commission meeting, when suddenly they said: “Okay, we need three more sprint races.”
“[That’s] fine, but then I have to go back to my team and now you’re talking about an extra [work] load and suddenly everybody said there is a split.
“I had about six phone calls saying: “What’s going on?” and “Where is the Sprint proposal?”
“We approved the vote, we studied it, I went back and I checked with all of my team, but people don’t understand the pressure that the staff or officials of the FIA [are under.]”
FIA relationship with F1 ‘has never been better’
Ben Sulayem says the FIA and F1 are pushing to ensure things are better for the future on the sporting and commercial side.
“In the F1 Commission we agree, and we push for things that are better for the sport – and that’s for the sporting and commercial side,” he explained.
“Sure there are questions out there, but definitely the relationship has never been better.
“Why? Because my interest in the sport is strong. I listen to [Domenicali]he listens to me and we both know that this marriage has to be sustainable and go further.
“Honestly, it [goes] from strength to strength.”