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12. Mohammed Ben Sulayem

ben sulayem, mohammed

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - NOVEMBER 20: Mohammed ben Sulayem, FIA President, interacts with Red Bull Racing Team Principal Christian Horner in parc ferme following the F1 Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi at Yas Marina Circuit on November 20, 2022 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Age 61
Occupation President, FIA
Nationality Emirati
Position Last Year New

Mohammed Ben Sulayem (born 12 November 1961) is an Emirati former rally driver and the current president of the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile).

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He is one of the most prominent motorsport figures in the Arab world. As President of the Automobile & Touring Club of the United Arab Emirates since 2006, he is a patron of numerous charities and an ambassador for road safety in the UAE; he supports motorsport authorities’ and young drivers’ education, training, and research to promote motorsport safety; he co-edited an academic book on sports management; and he is a supporter of the classic vehicle movement and automotive history.

In 2008, he was the first Arab appointed Vice President of the FIA and elected to the FIA World Motor Sport Council. As Vice President, he has pioneered motorsports education, research, and information transfer projects. He played a significant role in creating and operating the 2009 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix. He was chosen in June 2013 to serve as chairman of the FIA’s newly formed Motor Sport Development Task Force, which was established to create a ten-year strategy for the sport’s global development. He was appointed to serve as the FIA President in December 2021.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem attended the American University in Washington, D.C. and the University of Ulster, majoring in business. He received an honorary doctor of science degree from the University of Ulster in July 2012 in appreciation for his contributions to sport, civic leadership, and charity.

He was appointed head of the FIA’s Motor Sport Development Task Force in June 2013, tasked with creating a strategic plan to advance and expand motorsport sustainably over the following ten years. In the 109-year history of the FIA, this strategy will be the first of its kind. Sulayem launched a consultation process with all parties involved in motorsport right away, including manufacturers, the media, promoters, spectators, and FIA member clubs internationally.

Sulayem is a founding member of the Arab Council of Touring and Automobile Clubs, which seeks to unite the FIA Clubs in Arabic-speaking countries.

Sulayem was elected FIA president in December 2021, replacing Jean Todt.

Sulayem was entangled in a sexism issue in January 2023 after The Times newspaper unearthed sexist remarks he made on his now-archived website in 2001. The publication quoted Sulayem as saying he did not appreciate “women who believe they are brighter than males since they are not.” The FIA defended Sulayem, stating that the words on this archived website from 2001 do not reflect the president’s ideas. Sulayem did not contest the veracity of the quotations.

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