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Formula 1

Rally champion elected Todt’s successor as FIA president

by Edd Straw
2 min read

Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been elected Jean Todt’s successor as FIA president, securing 61.62% of the vote.

The Dubai-based 14-time Middle East Rally champion stood against current FIA deputy president for sport Graham Stoker, prevailing in the vote of 245 automobile and touring clubs and sporting authorities from 146 countries.

Stoker began the election campaign as favourite, but Ben Sulayem’s bid built momentum to the point where what at one stage appeared set to be a very finely-balanced election was won with a more comfortable margin.

“I am very honoured to have been elected FIA President at the conclusion of the Annual General Assembly in Paris today,” said Ben Sulayem.

“I thank all the member clubs for their esteem and trust. I congratulate Graham for his campaign and his engagement to the federation.

“I wish to express my infinite gratitude in the name of the FIA and that of its members to Jean Todt for all that has been achieved over the past 12 years.

“I am committed to pursuing the important work and make motor sport and mobility take further steps forward.”

Despite his longstanding involvement with the FIA, with which he has served both as vice president for sport and vice president for mobility and tourism, Ben Sulayem is seen as the candidate for change – with Stoker representing continuity given he has been a key ally of Todt.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem Jean Todt FIA F1

Ben Sulayem first bid to be FIA president in the 2013 election, only to withdraw his candidacy and throw his support behind Todt.

Ben Sulayem’s campaign lists its key pledges as being to “double motorsport participation worldwide”, “strengthen diversity and inclusion” and “be a leading opinon-former on sustainable motorsport”.

His full manifesto, which is described as formed through “over 200 hours of consultation with every available club”, is available here.

Among Ben Sulayem’s team will be the new FIA deputy president for sport, 2001 world rally champion co-driver Robert Reid. He is currently the president of the FIA closed road commission.

Richard Burns Robert Reid WRC Peugeot

Todt, who did not stand for re-election as he had served the maximum permitted three four-year terms, offered his congratulations to Ben Sulayem.

“A chapter has come to an end,” said Todt. We can be collectively satisfied of our achievements in motorsport and safe and sustainable mobility over the past 12 years.

“I would like to warmly thank my team, our administration and all our member clubs for their unwavering commitment, enthusiasm and resilience.

“I congratulate Mohammed on his election as FIA President and wish him, his team, and the Federation the best of success for the years to come.”

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