FIA President Launches F1 Defense After Hamilton-Verstappen Drama: “Rules are Written by Humans, Not by Gods”

Published 01/02/2022, 1:24 AM EST
Formula One F1 – New FIA President Press Conference – Paris, France – December 17, 2021 New FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem during the press conference REUTERS/Sarah Meyssonnier


Mohammed ben Sulayem, Jean Todt’s successor as the FIA president, is already having his hands full, thanks to the controversy that revolved around the two F1 world championship contenders of 2021, Max Verstappen and Lewis Hamilton.

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The 2021 F1 season finale in Abu Dhabi triggered an uproar in all corners of the racing community. And in the firing line stood the racing director, Michael Masi. It looked like the stewards bent the rules a bit in order to add more flavor to the race, which ended up backfiring horribly.

Hamilton lost the race from an incredibly dominant position. The Briton even yelled on the radio, “This race is manipulated.” But no amount of accusation was going to turn things around for the 7-time world champion, as his rival, Verstappen, clinched his debut F1 title.

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Formula One F1 – Abu Dhabi Grand Prix – Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – Red Bull’s Max Verstappen celebrates winning the race and the world championship with the Netherlands flag on the podium as Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton looks on after finishing second REUTERS/Hamad I Mohammed

This led the fans to demand the resignation of Masi from his position as the F1 race director. Soon, an affirmation arrived that Masi would continue as the race director till at least the end of the 2022 season.

And this left the fans pondering on one big question – Will F1 return to ‘playing by the rules’ or will F1 continue bending the FIA rulebook, heading into the next campaign? Well, Sulayem has the answer!

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FIA president acknowledges possible change in F1 rules

Speaking to MARCA, Sulayem opined that the rules are created by humans and not by gods and hence, will need improvisation with time. Meaning, there will be changes to the rules in F1, heading into the 2022 season but the Emirati is not keen on accusing the stewards of manipulating the season.

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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. The development of motorsport is going very fast and you have to adapt to that, but being proactive rather than reactive,” he said.

Formula One F1 – United States Grand Prix – Circuit of the Americas, Austin, Texas, U.S. – October 24, 2021 Red Bull’s Max Verstappen in action with Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton during the race REUTERS/Mike Blake

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.”

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Overall, it looks like big changes are in the offing for F1. But the question is, with F1 having drifted off the path a bit in 2021, can Sulayem bring the sport back on track this year around? Well, we’ll see what the future holds.

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Rohit Kumar

1632 articles

Rohit Kumar is an F1 author at EssentiallySports. He has been an ardent follower of the racing series since 2007, with his love for the sport coinciding with his love for Kimi Raikkonen. He is also an ardent follower of Sebastian Vettel and Aston Martin Racing.

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