Following the controversy surrounding the two F1 world championship candidates for 2021, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton, Mohammed ben Sulayem, Jean Todt’s replacement as FIA president, already has his hands full.
The 2021 Formula One season finale in Abu Dhabi sparked outrage across the racing world. Michael Masi, the racing director, was also on the firing line. The officials appeared to have broken the rules a little to add some spice to the race, which backfired tragically.
Hamilton lost the race despite being in a commanding position. “This race is manipulated,” the Brit cried on the radio. But no amount of criticism could save the 7-time world champion, as his opponent, Verstappen, won his first Formula One title.
Masi’s resignation as F1 race director was demanded by fans as a result of this. Masi’s position as race director was confirmed soon after, at least until the end of the 2022 season.
Talking to the media, Sulayem believes that because the rules are formed by humans rather than gods, they will need to be improvised over time. In other words, there will be regulation modifications in Formula One for the 2022 season, but the Emiratis aren’t keen on accusing the stewards of rigging the race.
“I have been elected just two weeks ago, but I have studied all the facts. We have a dynamic sport and the rules also have to be dynamic…. rules should always be improved, incident or uneventful,” Ben Sulayem said.
“The development of motorsport is going very fast and you have to adapt to that, but being proactive rather than reactive,” he added.
“Decisions will be made to move forward, without pressure from anyone. But that does not mean that we are not going to analyze the rules and make the necessary improvements. The rules are written by humans, not by gods, so they have to be evolved by men as well.”