Mohammed ben Sulayem shall be one among simply two names on the poll for FIA President in December, to succeed Jean Todt in probably the most highly effective job in motorsport as head of the worldwide federation that owns and regulates F1 and the opposite World Championships. If profitable, Ben Sulayem can be the primary non-European to steer the FIA.
The 59-year-old is without doubt one of the most distinguished figures in motorsport from the Middle East. A former a number of regional rally champion as a driver, he’s President of the UAE motorsport federation and since 2008 he has sat on the World Motor Sport Council as an FIA Vice President for Sport. So why has he determined to face for FIA President?
“Motorsport has given me a lot, most of my life, “says Ben Sulayem. “As a driver for 20 years I’ve won 14 times (Middle East rally Championship), then became an organizer in charge of motorsport at home. I believe it is time to give back to the sport and the federation. I’m passionate to make a change and to improve, to follow some of the steps but also to evolve.”
Ben Sulayem has been weighing up a run for FIA president for a while and the retirement of Todt after three phrases presents the chance. He not too long ago revealed his manifesto and is standing on a ticket that guarantees to develop participation within the sport worldwide in addition to extra monetary transparency.
Ben Sulayem’s imaginative and prescient for operating the FIA differs from Todt’s and that of his deputy president Graham Stoker, who’s Ben Sulayem’s opponent within the election, in a single key respect: he would make use of a CEO to run the Federation. Under Todt and his predecessor Max Mosley, the President runs the FIA, whereas the 2 pillars of sport and mobility (street transport) are every managed by a Secretary-General. This new imaginative and prescient would create a really highly effective new position and see the FIA run extra like a business.
“The day-to-day management, it’s not for the President,” he says. “I don’t want to micromanage. I want to be a President, to lead, but to hand the day-to-day to a CEO, who can bring the sport and mobility together.” If elected he and his appointed CEO would put the emphasis on rising participation, with a promise to double the variety of contributors worldwide in 4 years.
Ben Sulayem argues that if Finland with a inhabitants of 5.5 million folks has 11,000 competitors license holders, then there may be big improvement potential in China and India which have solely round 4,000 license holders every. So how will he try this? He provides the instance of Cross Car, which is the FIA’s idea for low-cost entry-level rallying, primarily an off-road buggy powered by a bike engine, like go-karts is a gateway to circuit racing.
“(You need to) have affordable vehicles in the introductory level,” he says. “We began one thing known as Cross Car. And that was superb, I imagine it’s the future. But the prices are speculated to be like €8,000, no extra. And then it jumped to €25,000. If you have a look at India and China, they’ve engines, why can we impose on them? We take the blueprint, we be certain that we supervise and implement the security rules in it and allow them to go into their very own native championship and regional championships? If we put a goal in 4 years to double it, it’s achievable.
“Formula One and WRC are in good shape, they are very healthy. But the world needs more than that. I mean, we’re talking about local or regional level, you need local participation, you need local events, and you need regional events. That can only happen if we do it in an affordable way.”
As effectively as looking for to double the contributors in motorsport, Ben Sulayem needs to spice up the ability of the regional motorsport hubs and to have higher transparency on the monetary aspect of the Federation.
“The financial (side) of the FIA is not healthy, we want to go and have a look at the financials and the proof to make also the FIA back into the business in a positive way, “ he says. ”Transparency and accountability are crucial if you wish to be taken severely on the planet. So for instance, the FIA accounts, once we wished to check out them, have been very laborious to realize or to acquire. So I imagine we should always comply with the main Federations on the planet, just like the IOC, which we’re a part of, you will note all of the accounts being listed on their web site.”
Ben Sulayem’s operating mate as Deputy President for Sport is former world rally champion co-driver, Robert Reid, whereas one eye-catching title on the ticket is Bernie Ecclestone’s spouse Fabiana, who’s operating as a vice chairman for sport for the South American area.
The election will happen on December 17th in Paris. It shall be a big second for the game as a result of, with all of the challenges dealing with motorsport from environmental considerations to the necessity for higher variety, the following 4 years shall be essential for setting the course for the long run.