I have nothing to hide, says F1's Emirati boss Ben Sulayem

A former Emirati rally driver, Ben Sulayem was also cleared by the FIA ethics committee of influencing the results of the Saudi Arabian GP

By AFP

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FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem. — AFP
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem. — AFP

Published: Mon 22 Apr 2024, 4:04 PM

Last updated: Mon 22 Apr 2024, 4:05 PM

Motorsport boss Mohammed Ben Sulayem says he has "nothing to hide" and "I play by the rules" after being cleared of accusations that he interfered with the organisation of the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix.

The president of governing body the FIA had been accused of asking officials "to find some concerns to prevent the FIA from certifying the (Las Vegas) circuit" before it hosted a grand prix for the first time in 2023, according to an internal FIA report.


A former Emirati rally driver, Ben Sulayem was also cleared by the FIA ethics committee of influencing the results of the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix last year.

"I wish it was only an accusation, but I was already convicted in the court of public opinion," Ben Sulayem told media including AFP at the Chinese Grand Prix at the weekend.


"I have nothing to hide. I'm proud of the work I've accomplished," added Ben Sulayem of his tenure since being elected FIA president in December 2021.

The reasons why the president of the FIA would have wanted to prevent the Las Vegas race from taking place have never been explained.

However, there have been claims of tensions over influence in the sport between the FIA and American group Liberty Media, who own the commercial rights to Formula One and organised the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

But Ben Sulayem said his relationship with Formula One Management (FOM) was "very good".

"FOM is our partner," said Ben Sulayem. "I don't have any problems. I just want to continue doing business with them."

As for the past allegations against him, Ben Sulayem was adamant that he played it by the book.

"I can stand tall and look you in the eyes and say I am a sportsman and I play by the rules," he said.

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