Who Is FIA’s Newly Elected President, Mohammed Ben Sulayem? Does He Have Racing Experience?

Published 12/18/2021, 3:00 PM EST


On December 17th, 2021, FIA announced their new president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem. The United Arab Emirates native became the first FIA President of Non-European origin. He replaced the outgoing Jean Todt and began a new chapter in FIA in terms of governance, functionality, and transparency.

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Ben Sulayem received a massive 61.62% of the total votes, while Britain’s Graham Stoker received 36.62% of the votes. His campaign focused on promoting and strengthening diversity, worldwide motorsport participation and sustainable mobility.

Speaking after his victory, Ben Sulayem said, “I am very honoured to have been elected FIA President at the conclusion of the Annual General Assembly in Paris today. I thank all the Member Clubs for their esteem and trust.”

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“I am committed to pursuing the important work and make motorsport and mobility take further steps forward.”

But if you haven’t followed FIA closely, Ben Sulayem might sound like an outsider to racing, which he isn’t.

Let’s take a look at the background and racing history of FIA’s newest President.

Who is Mohammad Ben Sulayem?

The 60-year-old from Dubai has been the President of the Emirates Motorsports Organisation (EMSO) for 16 years. He was first elected in 2005 and since then he has also been the FIA Motorsport Council Vice President for the Middle East as well.

But apart from his history as a motorsport executive, Ben Sulayem also has a lot of racing experience.

He is a former Rally driver, a 14-time FIA Middle East Rally champion. Ben Sulayem has won a total of 61 events from 1983 to 2002. Two of those wins were in FIA WRC in Spain and Argentina.

As a driver, he has won more FIA Regional championships and more international rallies than any other driver in history.

Ben Sulayem also pioneered the UAE Desert Challenge in 1991.

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Just as F1 and the whole of motorsports are heading into a new era of modernism, Ben Sulayem’s appointment as president could boost up a lot of things for good.

His first few days will undoubtedly be shadowed by an explanation and a possible action to the last lap incident in Abu Dhabi.

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But looking on at the future, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, with his passion for racing, his experience in racing as a driver and as an executive undoubtedly make him the right choice to guide the FIA and the whole of motorsports to a new phase.

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Shaharyar

478 articles

Shaharyar is a Formula 1 & NASCAR writer at EssentiallySports. A graduate in Journalism from Amity University, he has been a passionate follower of motorsports for better part of the decade. A Max Verstappen and Ferrari supporter, he dreams of a pairing of the two in future.

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