Sulayem to devote "as much as needed" to improve F1

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Sulayem has just taken over at the helm of the FIA, as successor to Jean Todt who has stepped down from the role after 12 years in charge.

And while Sulayem is still bringing himself up to speed with the latest developments in F1, including new rules and the fallout of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he knows how much time he needs to set aside for the sport.

“I’ll have to devote as much time as needed for Formula 1,” he said. “I have made myself independent from my work, from anything that will take me away from the FIA.

“This is a mission. This is not going to be a part time [job], and I cannot base myself in the UAE or another place.

“I will be here in France. I will stick to what I plan to do and what I said: it is going to take a lot of time. How much time I don’t know, but as much as is needed.”

Sulayem’s arrival as president comes ahead of a reshuffle of technical staff in the sport, with a number of personnel being moved from Liberty Media to the FIA.

Mohammed Bin Sulayem with Jean Todt, FIA President

Mohammed Bin Sulayem with Jean Todt, FIA President

Photo by: Sutton Images

The changes are important, reckons Sulayem, in strengthening the ability of the FIA to govern the sport.

“We have to have a stronger team in the FIA,” he said.

“And that’s what F1 wants. Our technical department now are coming back to the FIA and we have to lead F1.Stefano [Domenicali] is doing a great job with his team.

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“F1 is going up in audience. So we’ll have to work together with F1 itself, with the promoters, with the teams and with the drivers also.”

Sulayem is also clear that he does not want to jump to conclusions about changes he would like to see in F1, especially as the sport enters a key moment in deciding to frame future engine rules for 2026.

Asked by Autosport if he was happy with the planned direction of F1, he said: “As much as I was in the World Council, there wasn’t much clarity about information that was given to us.

“I have to look into it, first of all, and I will make sure that my holiday won’t be that long.

“I will make sure I read it and I prepare, because you’re talking about the future of the pinnacle discipline in motorsport.

“I have to listen, I have to read it first, and also with the input of the manufacturers. So I cannot give you any direction unless I read, unless I know what’s going on honestly.

“If I say anything, I’m blind now to say anything, so I have to go back and then come back to you. Give me a few months and then I will answer your question clearly.”

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