Hamilton, Vettel, Norris: FIA president ben Sulayem's controversial comments

Mohammed ben Sulayem has been talking about all things Formula One recently, including talking about the actions of Lewis Hamilton, Sebastian Vettel and Lando Norris.

He’s been the President of the FIA since December last year and he sat down with Grandprix247 for an exclusive interview during the Monaco Grand Prix weekend recently.

During the interview, he talked over a whole host of topics, ranging from his time as a successful rally driver to how he will govern as the top dog at the FIA.

It was a difficult time for him to take the reins given the fallout and controversy over Max Verstappen’s title win in Abu Dhabi last season.

In his interview, he also spoke about the actions of Hamilton, Vettel and Norris away from the sport, claiming:  “Niki Lauda and Alain Prost only cared about driving. Now, Vettel drives a rainbow bicycle, Lewis is passionate about human rights and Norris addresses mental health. Everybody has the right to think. To me, it is about deciding whether we should impose our beliefs in something over the sport all the time.

“I am from an Arabian culture. I am international and Muslim. I do not impose my beliefs on other people? No way! Never. If you look at my operation in the UAE: 16 nationalities! Name me one federation that has that many nationalities.

“On top, there are over 34% women and 7 religions. And even more Christians than Muslims. I am proud because it creates credibility and merit.

Mohammed ben Sulayem
BAHRAIN, BAHRAIN – MARCH 20: Mohammed ben Sulayem, FIA President, looks on in the Paddock during the F1 Grand Prix of Bahrain at Bahrain International Circuit on March 20, 2022 in Bahrain, Bahrain. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

“But do I go and pose my beliefs? No. The rules are there, even now there are issues when it comes to – for example- jewellery, I didn’t write that.”

Fans on Reddit discussed the comments, some of the best are: ‘Can’t wait for Seb to turn up riding the most over-the-top, decked-out-in-rainbow-colours bike ever.’

‘He didn’t need to go there and he’s just alienating the people he should be bringing together.’

‘Adding to the tensions between F1 and the FIA with comments like this.’

The president is referring to how the three stars of the sport conduct themselves away from the racetrack and around race weekends.

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY – AUGUST 01: Second placed Sebastian Vettel of Germany and Aston Martin F1 Team and third placed Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and Mercedes GP celebrate in parc ferme during the F1 Grand Prix of Hungary at Hungaroring on August 01, 2021 in Budapest, Hungary. (Photo by Florion Goga – Pool/Getty Images)

Last season we saw rivals on the track, Hamilton and Vettel, take a stand at the races in Qatar and Saudi Arabia. The Brit wore a rainbow helmet at the races with the words ‘we stand together’ printed on.

Hamilton is also known for constantly speaking out on Instagram, using his platform to raise issues to the near on 30 million people that follow the seven-time World Champion.

Vettel also decided to host a women’s only karting event in Jeddah to take a stand against the strict women’s rights in the country. He also wore a shirt to support the LGBTQ+ community at the Hungarian Grand Prix given the views the country has on them.

Norris has also spoken out about people getting the help they need with their mental health, as well as doing his bit to raise funds with teammate Daniel Ricciardo at McLaren who have fundraised for mental health charities in the past.

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