At a meeting of the Formula One Commission last month, the owners of the Liberty Media Grand Prix and the team agreed to increase the number of sprint races to six next year.
However, plans have not progressed after Ben Sulayem said he wanted more time to consider the impact that additional activities will have on the FIA Grand Prix weekends.
His position, amid speculation that the FIA was facing increased costs due to the changes, prompted insiders at the meeting to speculate that the matter was simply “greed”.
This comes at a time when the new president is trying to better balance the books in the FIA as he seeks to eliminate big losses in the governing body.
But speaking of this for the first time, Ben Sulay denies that he wants more money for the FIA.
“I didn’t ask for more money, but if I had, I would like to use it in the right direction – to invest in proper regulation of sports,” he said. Daily Mail.
“We say Formula One is the pinnacle, and it is, so the FIA needs the resources to manage the technical and financial part of a billion-dollar sport in a way that respects it. We need the ability to meet those standards.
Lance Stroll, Aston Martin AMR22, Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes W13
Photo: Zak Mauger / Drawings of motorsport
“So, particularly as far as sprints are concerned, I have to see if my team on the ground can absorb the extra load that the race will entail.
“After Abu Dhabi (when Lewis Hamilton arguably lost the title Max Ferstappen) people said they needed to change something.
“So I don’t understand why we suddenly asked the FIA team to do more. In the future there will be an incident, for example, with a safety car, and what’s next?”
“We need to consider all this and make an informed decision. Let’s conduct our operation. We will fix it.”
Ben Sulayem has suggested that he will be more than happy to approve the sprint expansion if the FIA decides there are no downsides to the change.
“I support racing when it’s right,” he added. “I’m not saying it’s wrong. I say there is time to decide. This is for 2023, not this season. Our house is not on fire.
“We have what is called democracy: Formula 1 has the right to vote, teams have the right to vote, I have the right to vote. If you then say that I cannot abstain or study the proposals, then you are not giving me the freedom of democracy.”