FIA President asked officials “to find some concerns” to not certify the F1 Las Vegas circuit, claims whistleblower

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According to BBC Sport, FIA’s Mohmmed Ben Sulayem allegedly tried to persuade the officials tasked with the certification process of the newly added Las Vegas circuit not to do so.

Las Vegas circuit hosted the third race in the United States the 2023 season, the first held in the Nevadan city since 1982. Formula One confirmed a ten-year long deal with the city of Las Vegas.

This information comes from the same whistleblower who alleged Sulayem’s interference in overturning the penalty of the Aston Martin driver, Fernando Alonso in the 2023 F1 Saudi Arabia Grand Prix. 

The 10-second penalty was originally given to Alonso for not serving the previous five-second penalty correctly. 

According to BBC Sport, the whistleblower claimed that they were asked “on behest of the FIA president” not to approve the Las Vegas circuit.

“From a sporting and safety perspective, the Las Vegas circuit approval followed FIA protocol in terms of inspection and certification,” an FIA spokesperson stated.

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

BBC Sports claims to have seen the whistleblower’s report. 

The whistleblower has alleged that they were asked by their manager “to find some concerns to prevent the FIA from certifying the circuit before the weekend of the race.”

It is heavily implied that “the purpose” behind this request was essentially “to find fault with the track in order to withhold the licence,” not concerned with the “their actual existence, with the ultimate goal of withholding the licence.”

However, that never came to be. FIA and the officials did provide the certification, to Las Vegas track, and the race weekend took place as planned.

The officials were “unable to find any concerns with the circuit and therefore certified the circuit fit for the race,” says the report.

2023’s Las Vegas Grand Prix was one of the most talked about race weekends on the calendar following Carlos Sainz’s scary accident in FP1 and how the loose manhole cover caused it.

Formula One’s goal seems to be apparent: create a big space for themselves in America.

This alleged intervention of Mohammed Ben Sulayem adds to the increasing chasm of the rifts between the ideologies of FIA and FOM.

The whistleblower’s alleged claims were made public days after the FIA president accosted Max Verstappen, during the Bahrain GP. Ben Sulayem asked Verstappen to publicly back Christian Horner with regards to the internal investigation at Red Bull Racing, but the Dutch driver said to the Emirati that he should start his own investigation on it.

When the three-time World Champion was asked to comment on his support of Christian Horner at Red Bull Racing, he said: “From the performance side of things, you can’t even question that. So that’s what I’m also dealing with.”

An FIA spokesperson released a statement, confirming a report has been sent over the allegations written about the last couple of days.

“FIA confirms that the Compliance Officer has received a report detailing potential allegations involving certain members of its governing bodies.

“The Compliance Department is assessing these concerns, as is common practice in these matters, to ensure that due process is meticulously followed.