New FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has pledged to devote as much time as needed to Formula 1 as he wants to help improve the sport further.
Sulayem has just taken over as head of the FIA to succeed Jean Todt, who has stepped down after 12 years at the helm.
And while Sulayem continues to familiarize himself with the latest developments in F1, including the new rules and the fallout from the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, he knows how much time he needs to devote to the sport.
“I’m going to have to devote as much time as I need to Formula 1,” he said. “I made myself independent from my job, from anything that would take me away from the FIA.
“It’s a mission. It won’t be a part-time job [job], and I cannot base myself in the United Arab Emirates or some other place.
“I’ll be here in France. I’ll stick to what I plan to do and what I said: it’s going to take a long time. How long I don’t know, but as much as it takes . “
Sulayem’s arrival as chairman precedes a reshuffle of technical staff in the sport, with a number of staff moving from Liberty Media to the FIA.
Mohammed Bin Sulayem with Jean Todt, President of the FIA
Photo by: Sutton Images
The changes are significant, Sulayem believes, in strengthening the FIA’s capacity 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 comes back to the FIA and we have to lead F1. Stefano [Domenicali] does a great job with his team.
“F1 is gaining audience. So we will have to work with F1 itself, with the promoters, with the teams and with the drivers as well.”
Sulayem is also clear that he doesn’t want to jump to any hasty conclusions about the changes he would like to see in F1, especially as the sport enters a key moment in deciding how to set future engine rules for 2026.
Asked by Motorsport.com if he was happy with the intended direction of F1, he said: “As much as I was on the World Council, the information given to us was not very clear.
“I have to look into it first and I will make sure my vacation is not that long. I will make sure to read it and prepare myself, because you are talking about the future of the flagship discipline in sport. automobile.
“I have to listen, I have to read it first, and also with input from the manufacturers. So I can’t give you any direction unless you read, unless you honestly know what’s going on.
“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’ll clearly answer your question.”