FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has outlined the “big challenge” of improving the governing body following his election to the role one year ago.
The former rally driver succeeded Jean Todt in the position after the Frenchman’s 12 years in charge of the governing body.
Since then, Ben Sulayem has addressed various aspects of his manifesto pledge, including the recruitment of the first FIA CEO and further work on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion.
At the annual FIA Prize Giving ceremony, Ben Sulayem was quizzed on the main challenges that he has faced in his presidency so far.
Ben Sulayem: What’s the enjoyment without the challenge?
“Enjoyment doesn’t come [without] a bit of sacrifice and the
challenges – what’s the enjoyment without the challenge?” he told media,
“I didn’t expect less, I knew there must be a big challenge in [the] FIA, [in] improving it, updating it to the new era now.
like a telephone – if you don’t update your telephone, you will be
behind, and definitely the teams [and] the technology is going ahead,
and we have to be not just up to that, but ahead of that.
“[There is also] the regulations, the finance, and the FIA inherited some of the issues from before.
“You cannot take decisions without digging in and getting all the facts and then going further. [In] one year [there has] has been a change. I’m not talking about Formula 1, I’m talking as the FIA as a whole.”
The FIA is ‘complex’, says Ben Sulayem
Ben Sulayem has detailed his approach to management as part of his position.
“I think people think that, ‘Okay, you are the President, you have the red carpet’, [but] no,” he explained.
“There is that part, of course, but then you really have to handle the issues. You cannot just run away and [leave it to] someone else. You cannot just be dependent on others and you cannot micromanage.
“The more you dig in, the more you can improve it. I think the minute we say, ‘Okay, we are there’, is the minute we start losing and we start not delivering what we have to do.”
With the FIA governing various categories of motorsport – ranging from F1 to rallying and Formula E – the President acknowledges that this brings with it some complexities.
“There are a lot of people behind it. The FIA is complex,” Ben Sulayem continued.
“Why? Because if you look at another game, like football, look at the regulations there – there is one goal size, there is one size of a football and [that is what] everybody’s watching.
“But look at the FIA. [If] you look at karting – imagine the regulations that goes into it. Imagine all the disciplines, [not just] Formula 1, [there is] rallying and others.
“Every day is a challenge, but an enjoyable challenge.”