At an F1 Commission meeting in London, the FIA thwarted Liberty Media and teams’ plan to hold six sprint races next year instead of three this season. The plans fell through because Ben Sulayem wanted more time to study the impact of the sprint events on his organization. Insiders dismissed the FIA’s blockade as “greed”. However, from the point of view of the FIA President, the workload for his team should also be considered, as well as the costs incurred that the additional sprint races entail. Ben Sulayem wants a better balance.
“I didn’t ask for more money, but if I did I wanted to use it properly. To invest in proper regulation of the sport,” Ben Sulayem told the Daily Mail. “We call Formula 1 the crown jewel of motorsport and it is. At the FIA we also need the resources to control the sport in a way that that technically and financially it’s a multi-billion dollar sport. We have to respect that. We have to be able to keep up with those standards. Back to the sprints: I have yet to see if my local team can additional workload that the races bring. After Abu Dhabi, people made their decisions very quickly. So I don’t understand why we suddenly have to give the FIA more work. If there is an incident in the future, accompanied by one “Safety Car, what do we do then? We have to look carefully and make a wise decision. We do the operation and we will fix it.”
Ben Sulayem suggests he will give his consent to the sprint races when the extra races are no longer considered disadvantages according to the FIA. “I support it if it’s the right thing to do,” he adds. “I’m not saying we’re doing it wrong now, but there will come a time. This is for 2023, not this season. The house is not on fire. We have a democracy. Formula 1 has one vote, the teams have one vote and I have one vote. If you then say I can’t take the time to research the proposal and don’t give me freedom, then it’s not democracy.”