FIA chief reportedly under investigation for alleged interference in F1 race

Tuesday, March 05, 2024
 – The FIA president, Mohammed ben Sulayem, is reportedly under investigation for allegedly interfering with the result of a Formula One race.

According to the BBC, a report by the motorsport governing body’s compliance officer, Paolo Basarri, to the ethics committee claims Ben Sulayem acted to overturn a ­10-second penalty given to Aston Martin’s Fernando Alonso at the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

The BBC report claims a whistleblower has alleged that Ben Sulayem called the FIA’s vice-president for sport for the Middle East, Sheikh Abdullah bin Isa al-Khalifa, who was in Saudi Arabia for the race in an official capacity.

Ben Sulayem allegedly told Sheikh Abdullah bin Isa that he thought Alonso’s penalty should be revoked.

The removal of Alonso’s ­10-second penalty, imposed for work done on his car while he was serving a previous five-second sanction, returned him to the podium behind the Red Bull duo of race-winner Sergio Pérez and Max Verstappen in second, after the deduction had dropped him to fourth.

At the time there was no suggestion there was anything untoward with the decision after Aston Martin’s sporting director, Andy Stevenson, had put the team’s case to stewards in a right of review.

Mercedes driver George Russell would have moved up to third place if Alonso’s 10-second penalty had stood.

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