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Formula 1: Fia President Ben Sulayem: Sexist statement about women



A 22-year-old website is causing a stir in the motorsport world!

Mohammed Ben Sulayem (61) has been President of the World Motor Sport Association Fia since December 2021. And is currently reeling from one crisis to the next.

The most recent cause for concern are statements made in 2001 on his former website

First discovered this had since been deactivated but in the web archive website that can still be accessed is the British “Times”.

In the “Sulayem up close” section, the current President introduced himself to visitors to his website, talked about his childhood, trips to the desert with his family, his career and his love of cars. It gets really exciting in the “Likes & Dislikes” section.

In it, a passage about the President reads: “‘I love the desert and I love meeting real people.’ But he (Ben Sulayem, ed.) doesn’t like to ‘talk about money, and I don’t like women who think they’re smarter than men, because they really aren’t’.”


A statement by Ben Sulayem, quoted verbatim, which can be interpreted as sexist and reflecting a worldview that was already outdated in 2001.

A screenshot of the current Fia President’s website from 2001


A Fia spokesman is quoted in English media as saying: “The comments on this archived website from 2001 do not reflect the President’s beliefs.”

And: “He was very committed to the advancement of women and equality in sport and likes to be measured by it. This was a key part of its policy statement and the actions taken this year. And the many years he has served as Vice President prove that.” For example, the Fia has had a commission for women in motorsport for years.

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Incidentally, the following words greeted the home page of Ben Sulayem’s website at the time: “When you are a respected businessman and a sports personality representing your country, there is a lot of demands and pressure from the media that it is sometimes impossible to do justice to everyone. I know that the newspapers, television and radio all have their jobs to do. Having my own website makes me feel like I can decide what to say and when to say it.


That directness could get on his feet now. Also in the present. Today, Ben Sulayem no longer expresses himself on a website, but very regularly on Twitter. And it causes excitement there too.

Most recently because he had commented on and evaluated media reports about an alleged offer by the Saudi investment fund for Formula 1. Some players in motorsport perceive these statements as a transgression. Because the Fia is responsible for the sporting regulations, not for the commercial rights to Formula 1.

According to the Times, Formula 1 even wrote a letter to the Fia. It said the president had “crossed the line” and that the organization could be held responsible for financial damage suffered by Liberty Media, which owns Formula 1.

A dispute that will probably also be discussed at the start of the season on March 5th in Bahrain….

Source: Asia Times


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