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Bernie Ecclestone

New FIA President explains Ecclestone's involvement

Mohammed Ben Sulayem has made clear that Bernie Ecclestone is "not helping" him adjust to life as FIA President, despite the former F1 supremo's wife, Fabiana, joining his team.

The new FIA President, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, insists that Bernie Ecclestone is not providing any support as he embarks on his role.

Ben Sulayem nominated Ecclestone's wife, Fabiana, as Vice-President for Sport in South America, should he win the election, the first time in the FIA's more than 100-year history that a female had been chosen for the role.

It led to speculation that Ben Sulayem, who ultimately beat Graham Stoker to the presidency, could lean on former F1 chief Ecclestone as he adapts to the role.

However, when speaking to media for the first time since being elected, Ben Sulayem distanced himself from Ecclestone, and made clear that the former F1 supremo's wife deserves the position in her own right for work carried out in recent years.

"Fabiana's experience is there"

Ben Sulayem told media, including RacingNews365.com: "We're talking about diversity. This is history for the FIA to have the first-ever female nominated.

"We're not talking about commissions; we're talking about the World Motor Sport Council and the Vice President.

"When I approached them, I approached them not because of her name. I approached them because of her credibility, and the choice was made on merit.

"She has been involved in mobility, in the club of Brazil, she has been involved in Formula 1, in Brazil, so she has the sport and mobility [experience], and she has been - up until the elections - in two of the commissions, so her experience is there."

Conversations with Ecclestone

Ben Sulayem added that he only had brief conversations with Ecclestone and has full trust in his team to proceed with his manifesto.

"He [Bernie] said: 'You have to convince her. It's nothing to do with me', so that's where his help stopped actually," Ben Sulayem commented.

"Bernie is a reference to F1, definitely, and the rest of the sport. Always you need the experience and you need the wisdom of people.

"But I believe we have a good team in the FIA and we have a good World [Motor Sport] Council that we can go back to and ask, and move the sport [forward], and grow the sport and Formula 1."

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