Jean Todt stepped down after twelve years and three terms at the helm of motor racing. Mohammed Ben Suleyman is the new FIA president. But who is he?
Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been elected President of FIA at the Annual General Assembly in Paris. The meeting took place last December, just four days after the controversial finale of the Formula 1 season. He defeated fellow candidate Graham Stoker, receiving 61.2% of the votes from FIA Member Club. 36.61% of votes went to Stoker, with 1.76% abstaining.
Europeans and Americans may have heard little about the United Arab Emirates-born former rally champion. But he has been one of the main Arab leading motorsport figures for decades. His CV includes 14 FIA Middle East Rally Champions titles between 1983 and 2002.
In 2008, he became the first Arab Vice President of the FIA. He was also the first to be elected to the FIA Motor Sport Council. Ben Sulayem was the one who pulled the strings to bring a Grand Prix to the United Arab Emirates. Thus UAE currently hosts the race in Abu Dhabi.
Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the first non-European FIA president
Born in Dubai, the 60-year old will fulfill a four-year term at the head of the governing body of motor racing. He is the first non-European FIA President. For a start, he promised to double motorsport participation and strengthen diversity and inclusion.
“I am very honored”, he says. “I wish to express my infinite gratitude in the name of the FIA and that of its Members to Jean Todt for all that he achieved over the past 12 years”, the new FIA head added.
Todt became President back in 2009 and his three terms have ended by the end of last season. “A chapter has come to an end. We can be collectively satisfied of our achievements in motorsport and safe and sustainable mobility over the past 12 years”, the Frenchman said.
“We will miss him and I wish him the best for his future and the next chapter in his incredible career”, said Stefano Domenicali, President and CEO of Formula 1.