Amid a period of unease, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem is facing scrutiny from a House of Lords peer.
Ben Sulayem has been under the spotlight lately – he publicly questioned Formula 1’s worth, sparking anger from the pinnacle of motorsport, and now he is under pressure from a Liberal Democrat House of Lords peer.
Paul Scriven wrote to Ben Sulayem early last year to express his concern about F1’s visits to a number of countries that are known for their poor human rights records.
He feels that F1 was sports-washing its viewers and fans by holding races in those nations. CEO Stefano Domenicali said in 2022 that F1 can help put the “spotlight” on the human rights problems that exist in Saudi Arabia.
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Mr Scriven has still not received a response from Ben Sulayem, so he launched a scathing verbal diatribe on the FIA boss.
“Almost one year has passed since you received this letter, and yet, we have not had the courtesy of your response,” he said, per Motorsport.com.
“Your failure to respond to our serious concerns is deeply discourteous and unprofessional.
“Why do you think you can ignore parliamentarians? Do you think that concerns raised over human rights and the policies of the FIA should be above scrutiny?
“We wrote to you in order to raise concerns that are in the public interest, and we expect openness and transparency from the FIA.
“For the sake of clarity, I still expect to receive a response to our letter dated 16 March 2022 and I am also making this letter open for the sake of transparency and public interest.”
The FIA attracted more criticism when they prohibited drivers from making political statements during race weekends, but for approval from the governing body.
Mr Scriven feels that this move was an act of suppression that allow “corrupt and abusive regimes” to take place without countries’ leadership being held to account.
“It was with great concern that I learnt of the FIA’s decision to suppress F1 drivers’ voices from speaking out in what you deem to be political statements, a policy that will serve to shield F1 host countries from scrutiny over injustice,” he added.
“It is very clear to me that this policy targets Sir Lewis Hamilton your most outspoken driver, whose comments on countries with abysmal rights records, particularly Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, would have undoubtedly not been well received by these corrupt and abusive regimes.”
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