Mohammed Ben Sulayem of the UAE will be the first non-European president of motorsport’s world governing body after being elected yesterday, the International Automobile Federation (FIA) said.
Bahrain Motorsport Federation chairman Shaikh Abdulla bin Isa Al Khalifa was elected as FIA vice-president for the 2021-25 term.
Ben Sulayem replaces 75-year-old Frenchman Jean Todt, who is retiring after three terms of office.
The 60-year-old Dubai-born former rally driver was standing against British lawyer Graham Stoker, who has been Todt’s deputy president for sport since 2009.
The FIA is the governing body for Formula One, the World Rally Championship, World Endurance and Formula E among other series. “The votes are in and we’ve won. We are thrilled that 62 per cent of all clubs have given us their vote,” said Ben Sulayem’s ‘FIA for Members’ campaign on Twitter. An FIA spokesman confirmed the result.
Formula One will be high on Ben Sulayem’s list of immediate sporting priorities after last Sunday’s season-ending race in Abu Dhabi ended in uproar after a change to the safety car procedure led to Red Bull’s Max Verstappen taking the title.
FIA race director Michael Masi has been at the centre of the controversy, with Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff saying the Australian had ‘robbed’ his driver Lewis Hamilton of a record eighth championship.
The governing body has agreed to look into the decision-making process and clarification of the rules.
Frenchman Todt stood unopposed in 2017. He remains an honorary president.
- His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Prime Minister, yesterday congratulated the newly elected FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem. He also congratulated Bahrain Motor Federation chairman Shaikh Abdulla bin Isa Al Khalifa on being elected as FIA vice-president.