Hamilton snubs messages from new FIA President

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the newly elected head of the FIA, claims he has reached out to Lewis Hamilton but has not received a response.

Since losing the Formula One title to Max Verstappen in Abu Dhabi, Hamilton has kept a low profile and avoided the media.

In the aftermath of the controversial race, the Briton was knighted at Windsor Castle and took part in the Mercedes team’s Constructors’ title celebrations at Brackely, but he has otherwise remained under the radar, avoiding the FIA’s prize-giving ceremony in Paris and avoiding social media.

Sulayem told Spain’s Marca at the start of the Dakar rally-raid in Saudi Arabia this weekend that he hasn’t received a response from the seven-time world champion after sending him countless messages.

“I sent him messages, yes, I think he is not 100 percent ready yet and I understand his position,” Sulayem said.

According to the FIA president, Hamilton broke F1’s sporting rules by not attending last month’s gala in Paris, and he has promised to hold him accountable.

“But there are also rules that must be accepted by all drivers. For me, there is no particular team or driver, out of respect for the integrity of the FIA.

“But I cannot judge until I have all the data and the first thing on my agenda is to thoroughly analyse what happened in Abu Dhabi.

“In the end, we are all human and the stress and pressure were there, so I think it will all work out. You have to look more to the future than to the past.”

Despite a flurry of reports that Hamilton may call it a day in Formula One, Sulayem is skeptical that the 103-time Grand Prix champion will retire.

“No, I don’t think so, they are rumours…” added Ben Sulayem. “Has he declared that he will not return? No.

“When you are a driver, you speak for yourself and not what others say about you.

“I trust that this is not the case, Lewis is an important part of the sport and of F1, his achievements. Verstappen is there… I am sure we will find a very exciting F1 next season.”

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