FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has another ‘urgent’ issue to deal with, on top of tackling the threat of Lewis Hamilton’s retirement from F1. Ben Sulayem was elected as the next FIA president in December, days after Max Verstappen’s world title victory.
Verstappen’s world title win naturally resulted in Hamilton’s defeat, preventing him from collecting an eighth drivers’ crown.
And the result played out in controversial circumstances after FIA race director Michael Masi effectively wiped out the Brit’s lead with one lap to go.
The Dutchman still had a job to do, but on much fresher tyres, he executed a dramatic final-lap overtake to snatch the title away from Hamilton.
In the days following, Mercedes boss Toto Wolff revealed that Hamilton had become ‘disillusioned’ with F1, and refused to rule out his retirement.
Very little has been heard from the seven-time world champion since, leaving fans to wonder whether he will return to Mercedes in 2022.
As perhaps the biggest name in the sport, Ben Sulayem is understandably keen to keep him around for as long as possible.
But given that Hamilton had not responded to the FIA president’s messages as of the start of January, his return is far from guaranteed.
As if that was not enough to deal with, Ferrari boss Mattia Binotto has called attention to an ‘urgent matter’.
The year 2026 will signal the start of a new power unit era, and Binotto has urged Ben Sulayem to lock in the new regulations as soon as possible.
Binotto is unlikely to be the only team boss calling for urgency in light of the long lead time involved in developing power units under new regulations.
“I’m already in touch with him [Ben Sulayem],” said Binotto, as quoted by GP Fans.
“I was in touch before the elections, no doubt, and I’m already in touch with him for what’s next and what are the most urgent matters for F1.
“I see that on the urgent matters, [the] power unit [for] 2026 can be one of the subjects.
“I’m very happy to cooperate with him.
“I myself am part of the World Council. As an F1 commission delegate, as Ferrari, [that] means I’m there.”