Graham Stoker

Stoker to face Ben Sulayem in election to replace Todt as FIA president

2021 F1 season

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The FIA’s deputy president for sport Graham Stoker is standing as a candidate to take over as president of motorsport’s governing body when Jean Todt steps down at the end of the year.

Stoker, who has served under Todt since his election at the end of 2009, is the second person to officially announce their candidacy. Mohammed Ben Sulayem announced his bid in March under the slogan ‘FIA for Members’.

His newly-announced opponent Stoker confirmed his bid today under the campaign banner ‘FIA for All’. Stoker, a sports law specialist who studied at the London School of Economics and the London Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, is the United Kingdom’s representative on the World Motor Sports Council.

Ben Sulayem, who withdrew from a previous campaign bid in 2013, has been the FIA’s vice president for mobility and sport since 2008.

The pair have confirmed details of their leadership team candidates. Ben Sulayem has nominated Carmelo Sanz de Barros for head of the FIA Senate, Tim Shearman as deputy president for mobility and Robert Reid as deputy president for motorsport.

Among Stoker’s team is the current president of the FIA senate, Brian Gibbons, who is standing for re-election to the role. Stoker has also put forward Tom Kristensen as candidate for deputy president for sport and Thierry Willemarck as deputy president for mobility.

Todt is nearing the end of his third term as FIA president and is not seeking a fourth. He was elected to the position at the end of 2009, defeating his opponent Ari Vatanen.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 13 comments on “Stoker to face Ben Sulayem in election to replace Todt as FIA president”

    1. It always seems a bit jarring to read ‘President of the FIA Senate’, ‘Head of the FIA Senate’, ‘Vice President of Mobility and Sport’. Campaigning under slogans such as ‘FIA for Members’ and ‘FIA for All’.

      I like to picture the FIA as a regulatory body, that learns from the activities of those participating in its events and aims to impart that knowledge to others to hopefully create a safer and more environmentally friendly future.

      These titles and slogans read like a mix of Star Wars and someone campaigning to be Prom King.

      1. @bernasaurus
        +1 Spot on ! I was going to comment on the subject before reading your comment, for me reading those titles the FIA seems to look like a syndicate for me rather than an association.

    2. I’d still like to see someone like Michele Mouton.

    3. Gee, I wonder who they’ll choose. The Brit or the Arab.

      1. pointless comment? they’ll choose whoever they want is the answer…

      2. Who else are they supposed to choose from? You can only elect someone who is standing.

        What is the point of that comment? Why does nationality come into it at all?

        1. @bradders
          I don’t think @balue is being offensive here. He is referring to the petrodollar fuelled political power of someone standing on behalf of an Arab state of the Persian Gulf. We all know that these countries have common objectives since they are tied together through the Gulf Cooperation Council which is an elite political and economic union of seven states, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates, that are also members of the Arab League (a union within the union).

          Even with the current state of conflict between Qatar and UAE/Saudi Arabia, for Ben Sulayem as someone that represents the UAE, he will have enough support from his country and its allies, Saudi Arabia in primis, and it’s not a secret that these countries are looking to better promote their images by hosting important sporting events (World Cup, F1 GPs, Boxing world title matches…) and having their representatives in international sporting organizations. For example they are already represented in the FIFA council with Salman Bin Ebrahim as a senior VP and Saoud Al-Mohannadi as a member.

          That said, Graham Stoker or whoever will be standing against Ben Sulayem has a game plan for a election and cannot be underestimated. I expect RaceFans as usual to breakdown the election’s behind the scenes when time will come.

        2. Beats me but it does. Just look at the FIA presidents until now. All from Western Europe, and likely not about to change.

          As we know from big traditional sporting organizations like FIFA, Olympic committee etc etc, they are the last remnants of the ‘good old boys club’, and I would be more than surprised if they will let a ‘foreigner’ take over the reigns at FIA.

          1. There is a lot of politicking and dealing that goes into building a presidential campaign and the selection of candidates for other senior executive roles (such as vice-president for sport, most relevant to F1). Even if a European is ultimately elected, they will need to make promises to address global or specific Asian or South-American concerns to get enough votes, as even all European member organizations are only a minority within the FIA.

            1. @cashnotclass They all know how it’s done, it’s the old way. The FIFA corrruption case was just the tip of the iceberg. Of course Emeriates and associates can throw money around too so it’s not a foregone conclusion, but it’s the complete package with trust, threats and cajoling and here they might be lacking.

            2. @balue It can absolutely be a bit of a dirty game. If I recall correctly it was Mosley who introduced the business of pre-selecting vice-presidents precisely to make sure an outsider candidate would have less chance. After all, would a senior official at the FIA openly back a candidate against what is effectively his boss? It’s a bit different now that Todt isn’t running himself, but it’s still a system that favours the establishment. But there’s more than one kind of establishments, as you note money is another big factor for many membership organizations (hence Todt’s previous program to invest in regional motorsport), and there’s certainly no shortage of money in the UAE.

      3. Murdoch vs Aramco only on sky cinema.

    4. RocketTankski
      26th May 2021, 19:02

      There’s something very crooked at the FIA…
      -Those photos on the wall!

    Comments are closed.