Mohammed Ben Sulayem he concluded a first year as President of the FIA which presented him with various challenges, above all the fact of having inherited the dirty laundry related to what happened in Abu Dhabi in 2021 and even with a Federation with a red balance to restore. Sulayem and his team have done their best and it is the President first of all who underlines that he is aware of the fact that constant updating is essential so that the FIA plaster is not overtaken by events.
“I expected nothing less. I knew it would be a big challenge in the FIA, to update and adapt to the new era. It’s like with the phone: if you don’t upgrade it, you fall behind. We must not simply be even, but anticipate everything. As regards the regulations and the financial aspect, I inherited some of the pre-existing problems. Decisions cannot be made without digging deeply into the facts. I’m not just talking about Formula 1, but about FIA motorsport in general.”Sulayem began at the press conference on the occasion of the FIA Award Ceremony.
The President used football as a yardstick to underline how much an honor, but also a burden, it is to be the head of a federation like the FIA: “Obviously there’s the glamorous part of being president, but you have to deal with the problems that are there. You can’t just run away and ask someone for help. You cannot depend on others. People sometimes don’t understand how many people there are in the FIA, it’s a complex system. Let’s look at football for example: there are two dimensions for the sides of the field and only one for the ball. Now let’s think about the FIA, even just karting. Let’s imagine the regulations involved and think of all categories, as well as Formula 1. Every day is a challenge. Both karts and cross karts are very expensive. In our manifesto, we said we wanted to double motorsport’s audience and many thought it was impossible, but nothing is. Why can’t we attract people to motorsport? Because it’s expensive already at the introductory level. We at FIA have given instructions to some regions to use their engines and produce their karts, fully respecting the regulations, but reducing the cost by 60%. I am optimistic that this will shake up both karting and cross-karting”.
Obviously the flagship of the FIA is F1, a category that is experiencing a magical moment in terms of popularity. A wave to ride and not to get overwhelmed by, losing sight of the real engine of everything, i.e. the competition on the track and the rules according to which it takes place: “Formula 1 is always the pinnacle of motorsport. The stables are constantly on edge. Formula 1 is healthy and 2022 has gone very well. We at FIA have to be careful though and at the same time fair. You can’t not have rules, you can’t avoid updating and correcting them, you’d end up like in wrestling”.
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