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Ben Sulayem went through hell: 'They abused me'

Ben Sulayem went through hell: 'They abused me'

26-10-2023 10:36 Last update: 10:40

Andretti's application to join Formula 1 has led to heated discussions within the world of motorsport's premier class. FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem opened up to the British newspaper Daily Mail.

Ben Sulayem claims he "went through hell" because of the proposed introduction of an 11th team, even as he mourned his son. The FIA president says he was going through a tough period in his life. Saif, his 29-year-old son, was killed in a road accident in Dubai in March. "I went through hell. They attacked me even when my son died. They abused me to try to break me."

Ben Sulayem does not understand the vehement reactions. "I ask myself, 'What did I do to get all this abuse?' How can you refuse GM?" By GM, the FIA boss is referring to Andretti's partner in the proposed F1 adventure.

Ben Sulayem remains optimistic

He further said that he expects support from Liberty Media for Andretti's application: "I'm optimistic that they (Liberty) won't say no. It is good for business. It is good for motorsport." Despite the strong reactions, Ben Sulayem is sticking to his policy: "And if there is another reliable, worthy team wanting admission I'll open a new expressions of interest process."

The FIA president seems to think that profit distribution is the main reason for the opposition of other Formula 1 teams. That would have to be shaken up if Andretti joins. Ben Sulayem immediately explains what he sees as his mission, and that he himself has nothing to gain from it. "I was elected to look after the sport. I put nothing in my pocket. There are no shareholders. There is no board of directors to share profits. My mission is different from theirs."