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F1 2023

FIA confirms due process followed in President bullying row

With FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem facing allegations of bullying and sexism, the governing body says all relevant complaint procedures have been followed appropriately.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem
To news overview © FIA

The FIA have responded to allegations of bullying and sexism against President Mohammed Ben Sulayem, insisting that due process was followed from the outset.

A report in The Telegraph on Tuesday said the allegations against Ben Sulayem were made by Shaila-Ann Rao, the FIA's former interim secretary general for motorsport.

The report states that a letter sent by Rao contained "numerous instances of sexist behaviour" which took place prior to her leaving the role in November 2022.

It was also reported that the claims were never investigated, and that Telegraph Sport spoke to individuals - including "FIA staff, elected officials, World Motor Sport Council members and stewards" - who alluded to "erratic and bullying behaviour behind the scenes".

The report continues to say that witnesses saw Ben Sulayem shouting at Rao in a Formula 1 paddock, and referring to her as "that woman".

FIA taking allegations 'very seriously'

Referring to Rao's complaints, an FIA statement insisted that due process had been followed throughout, without referring to any specific instances that were alleged to have taken place.

"The FIA takes allegations of abuse very seriously and addresses all complaints using robust and clear procedures," read the statement.

"As part of this, the FIA has an anti-harassment policy, an anonymous whistleblowing facility and an investigation procedure and all staff are made aware of these through an induction and regular training.

"With regards to the specific allegations surrounding Shaila-Ann Rao, due process was followed, with an amicable negotiation conducted by the President of the Senate and as such, no referrals were made to the Ethics Committee.

"As previously stated, both parties agreed she would leave her position in November 2022 and mutual privacy terms were agreed as is common business practice.

"With regards to the other allegations, there have been no complaints received against the President."

RacingNews365.com has contacted Shaila-Ann Rao for comment.

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