ben sulayem fia cief grid saudi gp

Did FIA chief Ben Sulayem interfere with 2023 Saudi GP outcome?

ben sulayem fia cief grid saudi gp

Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, is under investigation for allegedly interfering in the outcome of last year’s Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, the BBC reported on Monday.

A spokesperson for the Paris-based FIA – Formula 1’s governing body – when asked for a comment on the report, could not confirm any details but said: “The matter is being discussed internally.”

Ben Sulayem, who attended this past weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix, could not be reached immediately for comment.

The BBC said it had seen a report by FIA compliance officer Paolo Basarri to its ethics committee in which a whistleblower claimed the president had intervened to overturn a penalty given to Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso.

It alleged that Ben Sulayem called Sheikh Abdullah bin Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, the FIA’s vice president for sport for the Middle East and North Africa who was in an official capacity at the race.

Double F1 world champion Alonso was handed back the 100th podium of his Formula One career after a U-turn by officials hours after the finish in Jeddah on March 19 last year.

The 41-year-old Spaniard had finished third but was demoted to fourth by a 10-second post-race penalty for failing to serve properly a five-second penalty for an error in placing his car on the starting grid.

Stewards found the rear jack was in contact with the car before the five seconds were up. The second penalty imposed more than 30 laps after his pitstop, was then reversed when his team won a right to review after presenting new evidence to support their case.

The new evidence included the minutes of a Sporting Advisory Committee meeting and video of “seven different instances where cars were touched by the jack while serving a similar penalty… without being penalised.” (Reporting by Alan Baldwin)