Mohammed Ben Sulayem has addressed recent comments in which he appeared to criticise Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel’s stance on social issues.

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has tried to clarify recent controversial comments he made concerning F1 drivers Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel, and Lando Norris’ opinions on social issues.

The FIA’s new president mentioned Hamilton, Vettel, and Norris as examples in a recent interview with GrandPrix247, saying that F1 drivers should not “impose their beliefs” on the sport.

This comes as the Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton and Aston Martin’s Sebastian Vettel having been two of F1’s most outspoken drivers when it comes to expressing their views on human rights, the environment, and being allies of the LGBTQ+ community.

Meanwhile, McLaren’s Lando Norris has spoken out about his anxiety troubles in an attempt to encourage other individuals to come out about mental health issues.

Ben Sulayem posted a comment on social media ahead of this weekend’s Azerbaijan Grand Prix in Baku, albeit he did not specifically mention the interview.

“As a driver, I have always believed in sport as a catalyst of progress in society,” he wrote on Twitter.

“That is why promoting sustainability, diversity and inclusion is a key priority of my mandate. In the same way, I value the commitment of all drivers and champions for a better future.”

Ben Sulayem is cited as saying on GrandPrix247 that: “Niki Lauda and Alain Prost only cared about driving.”

“Now, Vettel drives a rainbow bicycle, Lewis 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 beliefs in something over the sport all the time.”

“I am from an Arabian culture. I am international and Muslim. I do not impose my beliefs 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,” he added. “On top, there are over 34% women and 7 religions. And even more Christians than Muslims. I am proud because it creates credibility and merit.”

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

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