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Max Verstappen

Ben Sulayem defends quirk that will delay Verstappen's title

Max Verstappen might be World Champion, but he won't receive his trophy until December.

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FIA President Mohammed ben Sulayem has defended the FIA prize gala, which will delay Max Verstappen receiving his trophy for the 2023 season.

Verstappen sealed his third title in Qatar - but will not officially be World Champion until he receives the trophy during the FIA's annual prize-giving ceremony, due to be held in Azerbaijan between December 4th-8th.

FIA championships are an oddity in global sport as champions must wait until the ceremony to be handed their trophies, with other events such as Super Bowl, the World Cup or even other motorsport series such as IndyCar or NASCAR awarding the trophy immediately after the title is secured.

However, President ben Sulayem has detailed the importance of the ceremony and the effects it has further down the racing ladder.

Ben Sulayem on FIA gala

"It is the night of the champions," Ben Sulayem told select media including RacingNews365 when asked if the delay between title being won and trophy awarded was helpful for fans.

"When I won my first [rally] championship, I had sleepless nights before I went to France to be in Paris and to be given the trophy.

"I remember I was so young, I was 25 years old and it is the night of the champions when young people can see the champion of Formula 1.

"That is the idol for them, and you want me to make sure the dream doesn't come true for them now?

"I tell you another thing, on the subject of a split and going to court, okay, what would happen then? You'd create another championship.

"It doesn't have [Juan Manuel] Fangio, it doesn't have Michael Schumacher, and doesn't have all the [F1 championship] winners.

"If you are a [young] driver, you want to be like someone so for them to come to the night of the champions, believe me, it's a dream for them.

"I see your point, and we might give him something [after winning the title] and something [at the FIA gala]."

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