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FIA

New FIA President: Time will cool tensions for Hamilton and Mercedes

The new FIA President, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, has said that he expects tensions to cool for Mercedes as time passes over the winter break.

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To news overview © RN365/Michael Potts

The new FIA President, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, has explained that he intends to take a very proactive approach to dealing with the drivers and teams across all FIA championships as he assumes the role at the governing body.

Having succeeded Jean Todt as FIA President on Friday, Ben Sulayem spoke about the recent controversies regarding Toto Wolff and Lewis Hamilton, as they elected to snub the FIA Prize-Giving Gala in Paris after losing the F1 Drivers' Championship to Red Bull's Max Versappen in contentious circumstances.

As he takes over the prestigious role, Ben Sulayem has said that he's hoping the slate can be wiped clean for 2022.

"Communication is very important," he told media, including RacingNews365.com, saying that the promised FIA investigation into the procedures at the Abu Dhabi GP is helping to cool tensions.

"When I had a meeting with the drivers, they understand that I am an ex-driver. We listened to them, there were some issues, I feel what happens is declared now, and the FIA took a decision.

"We discussed that in the World Council two days ago. There was a statement. We have to start the new season, a good season.

"It's a responsibility of mine to make sure that we all forget the past and look into it, with improvement. Things like this, we are ready for it.

"We have to be proactive [rather] than reactive, we have to improve in every aspect. I feel the fields of improvement are always there."

"Tensions will cool"

Ben Sulayem went on to say that he's confident, with time, that the immediate tensions surrounding F1 will cool, and that Hamilton and Wolff's pain at the loss will pass.

"I can feel that it is a time where, as a driver, I would be so upset for a while," he said.

"But time is a factor. That will cool. The holidays are there, Christmas is there, New Year is there, so I believe we'll start fresh. I have no doubt."

Ben Sulayem then revealed that he has conversed with Wolff about the situation, as they spoke in the lead-up to the FIA Gala.

"Definitely, at the end of the day, someone will always get upset," he said.

"I spoke actually to Toto Wolff and he said to me, 'I'm not coming here', and I listened to him.

"I didn't argue, I just listened. When I listened, he started cooling down. And then he sent me some messages and he said being a driver and losing after all of this time... it's not easy.

"One thing I would say is that he [Wolff] was broken, but these are the rules and you have to follow them. But as I promised, we would look into the rules and we're sure that any situation of this that occurs in the future, we will have an instant solution for it or we avoid it.

"There are so many areas that we can improve. We cannot just sit and say we are good. No, it's not enough."

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