Ben Sulayem: Domenicali and I working to improve access for women

SPA, BELGIUM - AUGUST 26: Stefano Domenicali, CEO of the Formula One Group, Mohammed ben Sulayem, FIA President, and Markus Duesmann, Audi CEO, walk in the Paddock prior to practice ahead of the F1 Grand Prix of Belgium at Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps on August 26, 2022 in Spa, Belgium. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images) FIA ben sulayem

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem insists that his organisation is committed to women in motorsport, despite Formula 1 chief Stefano Domenicali’s comments that he did not see a female on the grid for at least five years.

Domenicali blew the roof off of Social Media when he said that “realistically speaking, unless there is something like a meteorite coming to Earth, I don’t see a girl coming into F1 in the next five years.”

Four-time F1 World Champion Sebastian Vettel, retiring at the end of this year, took a swipe by calling for women “to prove Stefano wrong” after the statement went viral.

So much so that the FIA felt compelled to release a statement by Ben Sulayem on the governing body’s website, regarding the matter: “Since its foundation, the FIA has always supported and nurtured women in motorsport.

“Motorsport is unique as under FIA regulations, women and men can compete on equal terms. We will continue to actively encourage the participation of women whether that be through our ‘FIA Girls On Track Rising Stars’ programme.”

Ben Sulayem: Domenicali and I working to improve access for women

Adding: “The presence of women in our Race Control, Operations and Technical teams and other departments throughout the organisation or in partnership with our ASNs with female volunteers and officials.

“The FIA and FOM are committed to greater opportunity for women in the sport. Stefano Domenicali and I are working together to improve access and the pyramid for women’s entry and progression.

“Throughout history, women have made their mark in motorsport, on and off track, and it is our desire, under my leadership, that the trend will continue for years to come,” added the FIA chief.

At the same time defending Domenicali’s remarks, or at least softening blow, by including the F1 CEO in the statement of intent to promote female race drivers.

The ultimate goal, of course, to have a woman on the F1  grid as soon as is possible, purely on merit.