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Ben Sulayem: FIA not a platform for personal agenda

The FIA President has commented on the recent updates to the International Sporting Code, which state drivers must now seek permission from the governing body to make 'political' protests.

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem has said that the FIA is "not a platform for private and personal agenda" as the governing body seeks to clamp down on political statements made by drivers. The governing body made changes to the International Sporting Code (ISC) towards the end of the 2022 season to prohibit drivers in all championships including F1, World Rally Championship and WEC, from making "political, religious or personal" statements without prior approval. Both Lewis Hamilton and Sebastian Vettel have previously used their platforms to highlight important human rights issues and environmentalism in the countries F1 has raced in. President Ben Sulayem said the changes to the ISC were done with the acceptance, consultation and approval of the FIA World Council. "I am a big believer in the sport," said the FIA president to media at the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia. "You can use sport for these reasons, but one thing we don't want is to have the FIA as a platform for private personal agenda [otherwise] we will divert from the sport. "What do the drivers do best? Driving. They are so good at it and they make the business, they make the show, they are the stars and nobody is stopping them. "There are other platforms to express what they want, everybody has theirs and they are most welcome to go through the process of the FIA. We just want our sport to be clean."

FIA fighting Social media toxicity

Ben Sulayem made reference to the FIA's recent work to stamp out social media abuse aimed at fans, teams and drivers , as an example of making sure the motorsport community is accessible. He explained: "One of the things that I am fighting is the toxic and social media [abuse] that is going on. "Any threat to one of the staff [in the FIA] is like a threat to me. Any attempt on them, I feel it personally. "If we are improving and cleaning up our sport, I am proud to do that." He continued to say that the governing body is not "shutting down" drivers with the new ISC rules, but stressed that the FIA must remain neutral in the area of political protests. "We are not shutting down any drivers, I have my own personal things," he said. "But it doesn't mean I will use the FIA to do it. The FIA should be neutral, I believe. "We need the super stars to make the sport and they do such a great job when it comes to the competition, that all of us enjoy that."

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