FIA president Ben Sulayem stresses his commitment to “diversity and inclusion”

2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has stressed his commitment to encouraging diversity in Formula 1 after comments attributed to him in a recent interview were interpreted as being critical of drivers promoting such causes.

Asked what he feels motorsport should not become, Ben Sulayem was reported to have said: “Niki Lauda and Alain Prost only cared about driving. Now, Vettel drives a rainbow bicycle, Lewis [Hamilton] is passionate about human rights and Norris addresses mental health.

“Everybody has the right to think. To me, it is about deciding whether we should impose our believes [sic] in something over the sport all the time.

“I am from an Arabian culture. I am international and Muslim. I do not impose my believes [sic] on other people? No way! Never. If you look at my operation in the UAE: 16 nationalities! Name me one federation that has that many nationalities.

“On top, there are over 34% women and seven religions. And even more Christians than Muslims. I am proud because it creates credibility and merit.

“But do I go and pose [sic] my beliefs? No. The rules are there, even now there are issues when it comes to – for example – jewellery, I didn’t write that.”

Mercedes nose and pride logo, Baku City Circuit, 2022
Gallery: First pictures from the 2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix weekend
In a statement issued today, the former rally driver said he has “always believed in sport as a catalyst of progress in society.”

“That is why promoting sustainability, diversity and inclusion is a key priority of my mandate,” continued Ben Sulayem, who became FIA president in December. “In the same way, I value the commitment of all drivers and champions for a better future.”

Some F1 teams, including Mercedes and Alpine, are running special graphics on their cars this weekend to show their support for LGBTQ+ inclusion during Pride Month.

“The LGBTQ+ community has lacked visible representation and support within our industry, and we need to change this,” said Alpine CEO Laurent Rossi. “We want Alpine to be an open, inclusive and productive place to work and for our employees to feel happy and supported in their workplace.”

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2022 Azerbaijan Grand Prix

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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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22 comments on “FIA president Ben Sulayem stresses his commitment to “diversity and inclusion””

  1. This man is a walking, talking, and acting PR disaster.

    1. @proesterchen Wasn’t he the main one being ultra strict with all drivers must not wear any jewelry or any metal objects while racing?

      But he then doesn’t consider a wedding ring the same thing as other metal objects and says that’s ok and allows wedding rings?

      Talk about double standards and harder to take him seriously on a technical level when his personal opinion overrides the main reason to impose a strict rule. Like no metal objects are allowed on drivers due to serious safety reasons, especially Hamilton but if you’re married, then you’re alright with him and you get a pass.

      1. There is a differance between a welded nosering and a plain ring who everyone can remove if needed …….

        Everyone who races (ANY series) serious knows if you wear jewellry you can refused to enter the track (and they check) a plain wedding ring is sometimes accepted but if you have a strict RC director you get a choice remove it or watch the race ….

        F1 drivers seems to have the altitude those rules doesn’t apply to them if i was the RC Pierre, Lewis would be watching the race…..

        1. The problem is that, in the same interview, Sulayem seemed to imply that his motivation for being so strict on jewellery was to use it as a way of getting back at figures like Hamilton and Gasly for having drawn attention to human rights issues in those same Middle East nations that support Sulayem, rather than for any medical concerns.

        2. @macleod

          If you were RC would you allow a wedding ring?

          1. @redpill – No, if it’s a plain one depends if eveyone had one (plain) and would sign a paper any situation is on theirs. if it’s only 1 or 2 i would forbid it.

          2. PS: @macleod

            Think about it. I’m also involved in racing daily so I totally understand the discrepancy.

            If we’re going to be enforcing the strict rule of the law, to the word and the reasons given why this rule must be enforced due to health and safety issues as any metal parts or jewelry on a body can be hazardous. And when the question was raised in the beginning why, they & MBS gave good reasons and said ALL metal must be removed while on track. Fair enough, Driver beware

            Then the ones who directly told aka Hamilton and others found out that MBS said of course wedding rings can stay on. To me that exclusion to a serious technical safety rule being applied to certain drivers and not others is a direct result of personal cultural and religious beliefs by who is enforcing the rule.

            I’m going to guess you’re not a fan of Ham or like his lifestyle? Your opinion either way is totally fine but the head of FIA RD should not be selective using those very reasons.

            I say no jewelry what so ever, everyone takes wedding rings off (we typical have to accept to do unusual things when getting paid as a pro) if your going to enforce the rule in a correct way after stating why all metal objects is so dangerous for a driver
            I do not think anyones religion or cultural belief should matter or influence when rules are being enforced for physical safety reasons. It’s inclusion and exclusion, depending on who you are and what your beliefs are which should zero bearing when enforcing rules to health risk.

          3. @redpill – actually i am a F1 fan who likes exceptional drivers Lewis, Max Lando so i do like Lewis and i don’t care about anyone lifestyle those are theirs private ones and not something i should comment on.

            I am not for the spirit of the game guy but when i was racing long time ago everything was possible but slowly safety things were introduced otherwise the drivers would ‘veto’ it untill a periode all drivers complied to the rules. So i know the beginning of them before it was fysic impossible to race myself but i always stayed near the tracks to live the old days :) So i understand the drivers views but think they are wrong if everyone would think so you get a lot of problems so if everyone wants wear jewelry the sign their life away is it only a small amount all should comply.

            With your last part i totally agree because that is being professional and cultural, regilous or superstition belief should NOT matter at all for physical safety reasons.

  2. Coventry Climax
    9th June 2022, 18:43

    With the frenchman gone, the french GP is under threat.
    Let’s hope that when this man goes, the sandpits will go.

    Other than that, what he says isn’t all that bad, provided it is true. I’ve no idea which organisation in the UAE he talks about, but that’s not a country with a very enlightened reputation, to put it mildly.

    1. Paul Richard should be the test circuit as they can change the track every day if needed and even create a wet test.

  3. Oh the irony. In criticising their decisions you ARE imposing your views and those of your country!

    Time for F1 to walk away from the FIA and this one-man sport-washer.

    1. Good that we have 3 teams on the grid clearly showing their respect for more diversity to counter the vies of the FIA top man.

  4. I guess we have to be glad that at least there was pressure on him to try and bend what he said into something completely different. And it doesn’t much surprise me what he thinks about those issues or standing up for them. But it is quite telling that he was happy to say that in the original interview.

    And I guess it points to Vettel having been spot on when he mentioned he had the feeling the whole Jewelry thing was also something against their personalities. I get the new guy wanting to make clear he is the new top dog, but F1 really doesn’t need that kind of BS right now.

  5. F1 probably only slightly behind football as the woke-est sport in the world.

    1. i would certainly agree… all this woke-ness has ruined many a sport. when i watch sports, whether it’s racing, football, curling, etc., i want to see the best people competing in their respective sport, not some watered-down inclusive exhibition…

      1. exhibition… lol

        With Vettel.. it’s very simple. he knows car is crap.. he is done with F1.. so now what else to do.. just preach..
        We will never hear this from people who are trying to achieve things in F1.. We did not see this when LH was fighting with NR.. only when he had a great car and no threat did he start his preaching business…

    2. The NBA is the wokest, not even close.

  6. I think this all goes back to Hamilton’s, and to a lesser extent Vettel’s comments on human rights in Saudi Arabia.
    Its makes you wonder again about events upto and since those races in that part of the world. I won’t mention the sudden crackdown on Jewelry which seems to be directed at Hamilton.

    I guess only money is allowed to talk.

  7. “Everybody has the right to think. To me, it is about deciding whether we should impose our believes [sic] in something over the sport all the time.

    I guess when he gently reminds us about how everyone has the right to think. It shows how regressive he is in his thinking. Maybe someone needs to explain to him that freedom of expression exists as well.. maybe he didn’t get the memo.

    “I am from an Arabian culture. I am international and Muslim. I do not impose my believes [sic] on other people? No way! Never.

    The fact that this clown got religion as a belief system in to this conversation, shows just how culturally backward his thinking is. Hamilton and Vettel never promoted christianity… they promote equality and human rights issues. I’m pretty sure Sulayem is ignorant about human rights or the LGBTQ community.. he’s still stuck on which religious belief system is the best.

    Never liked this dude.. right from his Dakar days to crashing a Renault F1 car in a straight line. That fact that he’s FIA president in today’s day and age, seems absolutely ridiculous to me. I guess F1 and FIA can never do away with having a turd at the top.

    1. Hamilton and Vettel never promoted christianity…

      I believe Hamilton used to promote Christianity, and is a practicing Christian, but doesn’t talk about it anymore in case it upsets his legion of fans. Safer to talk about LGBTQ+ rights and rack up the likes. He’s just playing the game.

  8. Electroball76
    10th June 2022, 8:47

    Meet the new Bernie. Same as the old Bernie.

  9. Actually, ibni bin tulayem is supporting rainbow people by wearing his traditional skirt. Sudi clown.

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