In Formula 1, days of abnormal serenity alternate with others of ordinary madness. The undisputed protagonists in the winter uproar were Liberty Media and Mohammed Well Sulayemrespectively the commercial rights holder of Formula 1 and the president of the FIA. Above all, the UAE has been at the center of a crossfire that includes the beauty of: a Liberal Democrat deputy of the British House of Lords, Liberty Media, all those who fortunately condemn sexism and discrimination, now also the Formula 1 team principals. One of the ten bosses of the Circus wall, in fact, lashed out harshly against the federal president.
“Everyone thinks he has to gois certainly the general opinion“, she said BBC the team principal who requested anonymity to avoid repercussions. A confession that reflects the frustration within the paddock of having at the helm of the Federation a man who seems to live in perpetual isolation, against everything and everyone, with his own rules (how can we forget the F1 Commission meeting at 11 in the morning in Austria, effectively forcing the team principals to miss Spielberg’s only free practice, just to give an example) to the point of seeming out of the world of Formula 1.
Frustration from team principals has mounted rapidly in recent days as sexist and misogynistic comments have surfaced (“I don’t like women who think they are smarter than men, because they really aren’t“) dating back 20 years. No public comment, but the British newspaper reports how there was great embarrassment and disgust in the paddock for this outing which may be 20 years old but tells a lot about the person.
However, the issue that most infuriated Formula 1 and the team principals concerns the comments on the negotiations between Liberty Media and the Saudi sovereign wealth fund Pif: “Self Andretti’s was one of the vexing issues, on the evaluation of sport has definitely boundlesscould put the FIA in legal trouble“. According to BBCBen Sulayem would not even contact Formula 1 before tweeting that the $20bn was an “allegedly inflated price” and implying that the FIA had a say in a potential deal. A falsehood that in fact provoked a fiery letter from Formula 1 lawyers and which refers to the 100-year agreement in which F1 leases the commercial rights of the sport. However, the FIA has concluded another agreement with the European Commission, which has forced it to part ways with all commercial matters relating to the management of the sport. In fact, the FIA cannot condition the negotiations between Liberty Media and a potential buyer.
There is still some distance between Liberty Media’s irritation and a changing of the guard at the FIA. Indeed, there is an ocean, because Ben Sulayem was legitimately elected in December 2021 by the member clubs and neither the teams nor Formula 1 have any power in this respect. There BBC reports how the circles of Formula 1 are studying a vote of no confidence with the support of the member clubs, but at the moment it seems a very distant hypothesis.
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