The hapless and newly minted boss of the FIA, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, is scratching his head over why his emails to Lewis Hamilton go unanswered. Hamilton was left in what can only be described as a state of shock after losing the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in what appeared to be contrived circumstances. Hamilton was in commanding form and looked set to seal a record 8th drivers championship. But a late safety car and questionable decision-making from Race Director Michael Masi flipped the race and championship into the hand’s Max Verstappen on the last lap.
Post Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Hamilton has remained unusually silent. He has seemingly abandoned his social media platforms, Twitter and Instagram, where he has a combined following of millions. Having the race ‘taken’ away from him has deeply hurt the 7 times champ. One can not blame Hamilton for being deeply suspicious of the FIA. The rumor mill has been grinding out stories that Hamilton could call it quits on his glittering F1 career.
In reality, no one knows for sure. Hamilton refused to attend the end-of-season FIA awards ceremony. This cleared the path for the new FIA boss to put his foot into his mouth by declaring he would sanction Hamilton for breaking the rules. Without stating what rules had been broken. The irony here is that the FIA clearly played with the rules during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Clearly, to threaten the best Grand Prix driver of his era and of all time is a demonstration that Mohammed Ben Sulayem lacks tactical professionalism. He should have let bygones be bygones, said nothing, and given Hamilton the time and space to gather his thoughts. How can you threaten and forgive at the same time?
Instead, with his threatening words, Mohammed Ben Sulayem threw a ‘bucket of spit’ over Hamilton. In a recent media interview with Marca, a Spanish publication, Ben Sulayem revealed:
“I sent him messages, yes, I think he is not 100% ready yet, and I understand his position. Lewis is an important part of the sport with his achievements.”
Despite the FIA’s integrity and respect coming under the microscope, Ben Sulayem continued to assert that the FIA is an authority of integrity and respect.
“There are rules that must be accepted by all drivers. For me, there is no particular team or driver above the respect for the integrity of the FIA. But I cannot judge until I have all the data and the first thing on my agenda is to thoroughly analyse what happened in Abu Dhabi.”
Ben Sulayem has a lot to learn.