Historical remarks from Mohammed Ben Sulayem about women “do not reflect the President’s beliefs”, according to the FIA.
An old version of Ben Sulayem’s personal website – first cited in The Times – carries a passage on his “basically simple” likes and dislikes that stated: “I love the desert and I love meeting real people”. But he does not like talking “about money, nor do I like women who think they are smarter than men, for they are not in truth”.
The comments date from the early 2000s and a spokesperson for the FIA said: “The remarks in this archived website from 2001 do not reflect the President’s beliefs.
“He has a strong record on promoting women and equality in sport, which he is happy to be judged on. It was a central part of his manifesto and actions taken this year and the many years he served as Vice President for Sport prove this.”
Ben Sulayem built his run for the presidency on greater female representation, and since he took on the role he has installed the FIA’s first-ever CEO, appointing Natalie Robyn into the position in September 2022. He also followed through on a pledge to implement the FIA’s first equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI) advisor, a role held by Tanya Kutsenko since June of last year.
However, the president has come under fire in recent weeks for tweets relating to the reported value of Formula 1, with his belief that the quoted figure of $20 billion equated to “alleged inflated price tags” and adding “any potential buyer is advised to apply common sense”.
The tweets led to a legal letter from F1 and Liberty Media, threatening action should Ben Sulayem interfere with its exclusive right to exploit the commercial rights to the championship in what the letter described as “an unacceptable manner” in future.