House of Lords peer criticises "discourteous and unprofessional" Ben Sulayem

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been criticised by a House of Lords peer for being "deeply discourteous and unprofessional" in failing to reply to human rights concerns.

House of Lords peer criticises "discourteous and unprofessional" Ben Sulayem
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Paul Scriven, a Liberal Democrat life peer, has written to Ben Sulayem to express his concerns about both the FIA's clampdown on drivers making political statements, as well as the president's failure to respond to correspondence sent last year.

In the letter, a copy of which has been seen by Motorsport.com, Lord Scriven explains that he was one of 90 lawmakers who wrote to motor racing's governing body last March to express their unease about the human rights implications of F1 racing in Gulf countries and undertaking, what they felt, was sports-washing.

Having never received a response from Ben Sulayem, Lord Scriven has now formally expressed his annoyance at the matter.

"Almost one year has passed since you received this letter, and yet, we have not had the courtesy of your response," he wrote. "Your failure to respond to our serious concerns is deeply discourteous and unprofessional.

"Why do you think you can ignore parliamentarians? Do you think that concerns raised over human rights and the policies of the FIA should be above scrutiny? We wrote to you in order to raise concerns that are in the public interest, and we expect openness and transparency from the FIA.

"For the sake of clarity, I still expect to receive a response to our letter dated 16 March 2022 and I am also making this letter open for the sake of transparency and public interest."

The letter also outlined worries about the FIA's recent move to ban drivers from making political statements, something Lord Scriven felt was being aimed at certain individuals.

"It was with great concern that I learnt of the FIA's decision to suppress F1 drivers' voices from speaking out in what you deem to be political statements, a policy that will serve to shield F1 host countries from scrutiny over injustice," he wrote.

"It is very clear to me that this policy targets Sir Lewis Hamilton, your most outspoken driver, whose comments on countries with abysmal rights records, particularly Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, would have undoubtedly not been well received by these corrupt and abusive regimes."

As well as writing a letter to Ben Sulayem, Lord Scriven has also posted on social media recently about the lack of reply he had from motor racing's governing body.

 

In response to a Tweet from Ben Sulayem thanking FIA staff for their efforts over the last year, he wrote: "This would be more impactful if you had the courtesy to have replied to 90 European Parliamentarians who wrote to you in March 2022 about human rights issues rather than ignoring us!"

Lord Scriven's letter to Ben Sulayem comes after an intense week for the FIA president, who has been on the receiving end of another angry letter from F1 owners Liberty Media about posts he made on social media.

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After suggesting a report of a $20 billion price tag for F1 was 'inflated', F1's legal department said it was wholly wrong of Ben Sulayem to be talking about commercial matters.

The letter stated: "The FIA has given unequivocal undertakings that it will not do anything to prejudice the ownership, management and/or exploitation of those rights.

"We consider that those comments, made from the FIA President's official social media account, interfere with those rights in an unacceptable manner."

The FIA declined to comment on the F1 letter and has been approached regarding Lord Scriven's correspondence.

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