Awkwardness between F1 and its governing body the FIA are high as the 2023 season edges closer, with Ben Sulayem’s role at the heart of the tension.

Ben Sulayem will step back from the day-to-day running of the FIA after he wrote a dramatic letter to F1 team principals.

The FIA president's controversies include:

  • The time it took to sort the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix enquiry

  • The time it took to deal with the F1 cost cap saga

  • Releasing the F1 2023 calendar without telling F1’s rights holder

  • A perceived fixation about Lewis Hamilton's jewellery

  • Full points confusion in Japan 

  • Speaking out about the ‘lukewarm’ response to Andretti’s F1 bid 

  • Talking about the value of F1 itself 

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Domenicali has now told Sky: “These things shouldn’t happen. For the benefit of the sport, everyone needs to do their own job.

“The credibility of our brand is related to everyone doing the perfect job in the role that they have.”

Domenicali said about Ben Sulayem’s presidency: “It is normal for a new president, that he has a manifesto to respect. Because that was his proposition in front of the members who voted him in.

“There is a need for time to adjust, to assess the right role within the FIA. 

“It is no secret to say that the key to success is for everyone to do their own job, in the right way, to benefit the growth of the sport.

“Anything that is not helpful? There is no need to comment. Our interest is to make sure the sport is growing.

“We do our job as the commercial rights holder. The teams do their job. The same for the FIA who have had one year to develop, grow, work on a new team. They must deliver the job.

“We all have our credibility on this. If someone is not doing the right job? It is a problem.”

Domenicali said about the letter that Ben Sulayem sent to F1 team bosses to announce his stepping-back from day-to-day running of the FIA: “We discussed it with Mohammed. He is the president. It is a big role.

“His action will be to stay connected to the strategy, as it should be, and people will run the day-to-day.”

Ben Sulayem sent tweets to downplay the value of F1 after reports that Saudi Arabia had bid to buy it. This angered F1 owners Liberty Media who sent him a letter.

“It was important to clarify the role, for each of us,” Domenicali said.

“There is no more to comment. We stay focused on what we believe is right for the growth of the sport.

“This was news that is not news! If the sport grows we should all be happy.”

Domenicali describes the role of the FIA within F1: “In the 100-year agreement they are the regulator. Together, they shape the sport with us.

“I don’t want to fight. If this is the approach, it is wrong. I have a bigger picture. I don’t have an ego.

“I will never be involved in any punching inside the scrum! It is not my role. I am bigger than that.”