FIA boss Mohammed Ben Sulayem cleared of wrongdoing

Mohammed Ben Sulayem "cleared of any wrongdoing” by FIA Ethics Committee

Mohammed Bin Sulayem (UAE) FIA President. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd 22, Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Yas Marina Circuit,
Mohammed Bin Sulayem (UAE) FIA President. Formula 1 World Championship, Rd…

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the FIA president, has been cleared of wrongdoing relating to two F1 grands prix.

The FIA Ethics Committee said it had "no evidence to substantiate allegations of interference" so Ben Sulayem "was cleared of any wrongdoing”.

The investigation looked into claims that Ben Sulayem insisted a penalty given to Fernando Alonso at the 2023 F1 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix should be overturned.

Alonso had been given a five-second time penalty for an incorrect start after lining up wrongly in his grid box.

He served the penalty under a Safety Car but then was hit with another 10-second time penalty when stewards insisted his pit crew illegally started work on his car before the original five-second time penalty had elapsed.

The extra penalty meant Alonso dropped from P3 to P4 - but this only came after the race, and after he celebrated what he thought was a podium finish.

Aston Martin succeeded in appealing the decision. The stewards reversed their call a day later.

The other allegation against Ben Sulayem related to the F1 Las Vegas Grand Prix, and his certification of the track.

The full FIA statement read: "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.

"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.

"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 Aramco Cognizant 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."

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