His name is Mohammed Ben Sulayem, and he is the new FIA President following the departure of Jean Todt. If Todt was an example of being at the top of his job, Sulayem is already showing signs that he is at the very bottom. If you start at the bottom, the only way is up. Unusually this is clearly not the case for Sulayem. The new FIA boss is upset that Lewis Hamilton did not attend the annual end-of-season prize-giving Gala. Mercedes were so incensed with how the season finale race ended in Abu Dhabi they decided to snub the Gala event in protest. Hamilton also decided to skip the event and has remained uncharacteristically quiet since the dramatic and controversial season-ending race.
Both Hamilton and Mercedes feel the Abu Dhabi victory was handed to Max Verstappen under a breach of safety car regulations by the very people who are meant to be regulating the sport. But that is a debate that will rage on for many weeks to come. You could argue Mercedes and Hamilton’s conduct is unprofessional. But there is no rule forcing them to attend, no regulation or article. Nevertheless, Ben Sulayem was unimpressed.
Ben Sulayem was speaking at the FIA Gala:
“I spoke to Toto and he said to me: ‘I am not coming here’. I listened to him. When I listened, he started cooling down. We will look into the rules and make sure any situation like this that occurs in the future we will have an instant solution to it.”
“I know Lewis is really sad about what happened. I would say he is broken. But we have to look into if there is any breach.”
“Forgiveness is always there. But rules are rules. If there is any breach, there is no forgiveness in this.”
The irony here is, that Ben Sulayem is threatening Hamilton for breaching rules without specifying what rules have been breached. It sounds like a re-run of the 2021 Abu Dhabi GP all over again. This kind of statement, clearly coming from an out-of-touch with reality President, sounds like the FIA is goose-stepping towards a Dicktatorship.
And we all know about the classic fable of Dicktatorships, they never end well.