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FIA

FIA president facing fresh whistleblower allegations - report

Following allegations of race tampering emerged from a whistleblower, a second BBC report has brought fresh claims against Ben Sulayem.

Verstappen Bahrain Ben Sulayem
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FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem is facing fresh allegations from a whistleblower, with the BBC reporting he allegedly told officials not to certify the Las Vegas street circuit for its inaugural event last season.

Ben Sulayem was the subject of claims, from the same whistleblower, suggesting that he had asked for officials to overturn a penalty for Fernando Alonso at last season's Saudi Arabian Grand Prix.

According to the BBC, the whistleblower has claimed, in a report from the FIA's compliance officer to its ethics committee and seen by the outlet, they were told "on the behest of the FIA president" to 'find a way not to pass the circuit safe for racing'.

An FIA spokesperson said, as per the BBC: "From a sporting and safety perspective, the Las Vegas circuit approval followed FIA protocol in terms of inspection and certification.

"If you recall, there was a delay in the track being made available for inspection due to ongoing local organiser construction works."

The inaugural Las Vegas Grand Prix was the first to be promoted by F1 itself and was seen as the new gem on the calendar. Despite early issues, with the first day of running wiped out by a drain cover issue, the race was largely deemed a success due to its on-track action.

As per the report, the whistleblower is suggested to have said that "the purpose was to find fault with the track in order to withhold the license."

The report allegedly adds: "Asked to be more specific, [the whistleblower] said that issues on the circuit were meant to be artificially identified regardless of their actual existence, with the ultimate goal of withholding the licence."

Three other officials were named in the report, though have not been revealed publically.

The allegations are a continuation of a turbulent start to the year for F1, which saw pre-season testing and the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix overshadowed by claims made against Red Bull team principal Christian Horner over alleged inappropriate behaviour, though a Red Bull GmbH investigation dismissed the case against him.

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