FIA defends president Mohammed Ben Sulayem amid sexism storm after controversial comment on his own website resurfaces | The Sun

FIA defends president Mohammed Ben Sulayem amid sexism storm after controversial comment on his own website resurfaces | The Sun

THE FIA, Formula One's governing body, have leapt to the defence of president Mohammed Ben Sulayem after sexist comments on his own website resurfaced.

Ben Sulayem was quoted as saying "women who think they are smarter than men, for they are not in truth" in a post on a personal website which appeared to have been published in 2001.

The website the quote was on can no longer be read online.

But an FIA spokesman has still been forced to come out and say: "The remarks in this archived website from 2001 do not reflect the president's beliefs.

"He has a strong record on promoting women and equality in sport, which he is happy to be judged on.

"It was a central part of his manifesto and actions taken this year and the many years he served as vice-president for sport prove this."


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The BBC have claimed Ben Sulayem's old website and the content on it had been discussed by F1 chiefs following his election win in 2021.

The row comes just days after F1 chiefs slammed Ben Sulayem for speaking out about the sale of the sport.

A report last week by Bloomberg News stated that Saudi Arabia's sovereign wealth fund had investigated a $20bn takeover bid for the sport in 2022.

Neither F1 nor Saudi's Public Investment Fund, which recently bought Newcastle United, commented on the report.

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However, that did not stop Ben Sulayem from tweeting on Monday that he was "cautious about alleged inflated price tags of $20bn being put on F1".

He added: "Any potential buyer is advised to apply common sense, consider the greater good of the sport and come with a clear, sustainable plan — not just a lot of money."

His remarks angered F1, who responded with a legal letter from Sacha Woodward Hill, who has been the sport's chief legal officer since 2000 and has worked at F1 since she was appointed by Bernie Ecclestone in 1996.

Renee Wilm, chief legal and administrative officer of Liberty Media Corporation, was also been included in the letter, which accused the FIA of acting beyond its remit.

According to Sky News, the letter was sent to F1 teams and warned the FIA that F1 "has the exclusive right to exploit the commercial rights in the FIA Formula One World Championship" under a 100-year deal.

"Further, the FIA has given unequivocal undertakings that it will not do anything to prejudice the ownership, management and/or exploitation of those rights.

"We consider that those comments, made from the FIA president's official social media account, interfere with those rights in an unacceptable manner."

Ben Sulayem has also been criticised for revealing plans to expand the number of teams on the grid to more than 10.

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