FIA confirms probe into leadership following whistleblower claims

Motorsport governing body would not confirm reports that the allegations were about its president

The FIA said its compliance department was investigating whistleblower claims made against its senior leadership 'to ensure that due process is meticulously followed.' Reuters
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World motor racing's ruling body has confirmed there have been complaints made against its senior leadership following claims made by a whistleblower.

The FIA issued a statement on Tuesday but would not confirm news reports that the allegations were about its president, Mohammed ben Sulayem.

The BBC reported this week that the Emirati former rally driver allegedly intervened to overturn a penalty given to Fernando Alonso at last year's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

Certain elements of the report were inaccurately reported
FIA spokesman on whistleblower claims

A second BBC report says the same whistleblower also claims Ben Sulayem told officials not to certify the Las Vegas circuit for its high-profile race last November.

The reason behind these alleged interventions was not clear.

“The Compliance Department is assessing these concerns, as is common practice in these matters, to ensure that due process is meticulously followed,” the FIA said in a statement.

In a separate statement to the Associated Press, an FIA spokesman said it was a "source of great concern" that the whistleblower spoke to the media without the governing body's authorisation and that "certain elements of the report were inaccurately reported.”

The whistleblower is believed to be a former FIA employee who now works for Formula One management.

The allegations against Ben Sulayem are part of what appears to be a power struggle between the governing body and F1 itself.

The allegations are the latest to hit the start of the 2024 F1 season.

Before last weekend's opening race in Bahrain, constructors champions Red Bull investigated team principal Christian Horner over allegations of misconduct involving a team employee.

Even after Horner was cleared by Red Bull's parent company, a trove of alleged evidence against him was leaked to more than 100 industry members during practice in Bahrain. Horner has denied all allegations.

The second race of the new season takes place in Saudi Arabia on Saturday.

Updated: March 06, 2024, 9:17 AM