Liberty Media reportedly contemplates F1’s exit from the FIA over Muhammed Ben Sulayem’s ‘detrimental actions’

Mercedes have recently landed in trouble following the allegations of receiving confidential information from Liberty Media.


Liberty Media reportedly contemplates F1’s exit from the FIA over Muhammed Ben Sulayem’s ‘detrimental actions’

Stefano Domenicali, Yuki Tsunoda, Franz Tost and Mohammed Ben Sulayem (VIa IMAGO)

In a startling development within the F1 realm, reports have emerged suggesting that F1 owners Liberty Media are contemplating a breakaway from the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile) if the actions of FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem persist. This revelation comes amid escalating tensions between the two entities, with recent controversies exacerbating an already strained relationship.

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The current discord centers around a compliance probe initiated by the FIA, leading to a strong reaction from Liberty Media, Mercedes, and Susie Wolff, the head of the all-female F1 Academy. The investigation was prompted by reports alleging that a team boss, purportedly Toto Wolff of Mercedes, received confidential information from an employee of the commercial rights holder.

As reported by BBC.com, it is suggested that Liberty Media is contemplating a breakaway from the FIA if President Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s actions continue to be perceived as “detrimental to the sport.” The report said;

A number of sources have told BBC that if FIA president Ben Sulayem continues to act in a manner senior figures considered to be detrimental to the sport, F1 owners Liberty Media would lose patience and consider breaking away from the FIA.

Since assuming the FIA presidency in late 2021, Mohammed Ben Sulayem’s leadership has strained F1’s relationship. Previous controversies, such as alleged sexist remarks, raised leadership questions. The recent compliance probe intensifies the rift, with team principals expressing concern over a potential conflict of interest. As the FIA investigates, mounting tension hints at a possible rupture that may significantly impact the future of the sport.

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Susie Wolff responds to the allegations

Following the Mercedes’ investigation, Susie Wolff, a prominent figure in motorsport and head of the F1 Academy responded to the allegations on Instagram, expressing being “deeply insulted but sadly unsurprised.” She vehemently rejected the claims, characterizing them as rooted in “intimidatory and misogynistic behaviour” and targeting her marital status rather than her professional abilities.

Toto Wolff with his wife, Susie Wolff
Toto Wolff with his wife, Susie Wolff (Credits: F1i.com)

In response to the FIA’s compliance probe, both Mercedes and F1, owned by Liberty Media, issued statements expressing their dissatisfaction. F1, in particular, noted that the FIA’s statement had not been shared with them in advance, expressing “complete confidence that the allegations are wrong” and highlighting robust processes to safeguard against unauthorized disclosure of information.

Mercedes, implicated in the probe, expressed surprise at learning about the investigation through media statements. They rejected the allegations, emphasizing the integrity and compliance of their team principal, Toto Wolff, and characterizing the accusations as damaging to the team’s reputation.

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