FIA President cleared after investigation into 2023 Saudi Arabian GP

The start of the 2024 Formula 1 season has been rocked by a number of off-track controversies, including the ongoing allegations against Red Bull Team Principal Christian Horner.

While the investigation into Horner has been escalated to the sport’s governing body, another investigation has been put to rest.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, President of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), F1’s governing body, has been cleared of wrongdoing by the FIA Ethics Committee. President Ben Sulayem was being investigated for two separate allegations: First, that he sought to intervene in a penalty handed down to Fernando Alonso at the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix and second, that he tried to interfere in the track certification process for the inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Throughout the investigation, President Ben Sulayem maintained that he had done nothing wrong. Now, following an extensive investigation — according to the FIA Ethics Committee — FIA’s President has been cleared.

In a lengthy statement the Committee dismissed the allegations, noting a lack of evident to substantiate allegations of “any kind,” and cited a “robust and wide-ranging review” process.

“After reviewing the results of the inquiries, the Ethics Committee were unanimous in their determination that there was no evidence to substantiate allegations of interference of any kind involving the FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem,” said the statement in part.

“Concerns over potential interference were brought to the attention of the FIA Compliance Officer and subsequently passed to the FIA Ethics Committee under Article 32.2.5 of the FIA Statutes,” continued the statement. “There followed a robust and wide-ranging independent review spanning 30 days, which included interviews with 11 witnesses. Allegations against the FIA President were unsubstantiated and strong evidence beyond any reasonable doubt was presented to support the determination of the FIA Ethics Committee.”

The statement went on to make it clear that President Ben Sulayem was cleared of allegations involving both the 2023 Saudi Arabian Grand Prix, and the certification process for the debut Las Vegas Grand Prix.

“The FIA President was cleared of any wrongdoing regarding allegations (i) to have interfered with the Stewards’ decision to reverse an additional penalty on Car 14 following a challenge from the Aston Martin Aramco Cognizant F1 Team at the Saudi Arabian Grand Prix 2023 and (ii) to have attempted to interfere with the track certification process for the Las Vegas Grand Prix 2023. The certification was completed and approved in due time,” stated the FIA Ethics Committee.

According to the FIA Ethics Committee, President Ben Sulayem cooperated fully with the investigation.

“The President[‘s] complete [cooperation], transparency, and compliance throughout the process during this investigation was greatly appreciated.”

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