Ben Sulayem Busy Post Abu Dhabi 2021, Dislikes Being Reactive

The 2021 Formula One season finale, in which Max Verstappen controversially overtook Lewis Hamilton to win the championship, has drawn criticism towards the FIA and put newly elected president Mohammed Ben Sulayem in a challenging position, leading to the dismissal of race director Michael Masi and a restructure of the department.


‣ Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen competed for the Championship in the final round of the 2021 Formula One season, which led to criticism towards the FIA.
‣ Max Verstappen won the championship after overtaking Hamilton on the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, following the end of a safety car period.
‣ The newly elected FIA president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, had to deal with the fallout from the controversial race.
‣ Ben Sulayem emphasized the importance of planning and revealed that he was overwhelmed with problems following the race, but assured that a better structure has been put in place to prevent future issues.

Lewis Hamilton and Max Verstappen locked horns in the final round of the 2021 Formula One season. A championship battle that stirred up a storm of criticism aimed at the FIA.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem, the newly minted FIA president, found himself in the thick of it. He’d only been elected on December 17, 2021, a mere five days post the infamous Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. Talk about a baptism by fire!

Verstappen snatched the championship from Hamilton in the final lap of the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. The Dutchman’s victory came right after a safety car period. But was he the rightful champion?

The aftermath saw Michael Masi, the race director, lose his job.

Ben Sulayem had to step up. The Abu Dhabi 2021 incident was a wake-up call.

“I’ll never claim that everything was hunky-dory in the Abu Dhabi race,” the FIA president confessed in a chat with “I’m always on the lookout for areas to improve.”

He added, “I thought, hold on, let’s first figure out what’s happening. I’ve just won the election. Can’t I savor that for a bit?”

The issue was then scrutinized. “I’ll be frank: I despise being reactive,” he admitted. “My mantra is: if you don’t plan, you’re planning to fail. Always have a plan!”

He was swamped with problems. “I was like, what’s happening? We’ve got a better structure now with the strengthening of the department in the single-seaters. That should reduce problems. But drivers, they’ll always want something,” Ben Sulayem concluded, with a hint of resignation.

Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez
Albert Ramirez is a senior writer at With a passion for motorsports, Albert brings a unique perspective to the world of Formula One. With over five years of experience as a sports reporter, he has honed his skills in capturing the essence of the sport.

Related F1 News