Ben Sulayem says he received threats “to reverse the results” of Abu Dhabi

© Steve Etherington for Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Ltd.

FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem admits “human errors” were made at the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, and says even he received threats “to reverse the results”.

At the 2021 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, race director Michael Masi broke the rules that govern the use of the Safety Car, which basically gave Max Verstappen the race win and the 2021 title on a silver platter.

At the same time, Masi’s controversial and unjust decisions prevented Lewis Hamilton from winning his record-breaking eighth F1 championship.

The Australian was later removed from his position of race director because of his controversial decisions, and then left the FIA altogether.

Masi has since revealed that he received online abuse, and FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem says it was one of the reasons for his decision to leave.

“It was also his choice,” Ben Sulayem said at the Dakar Rally.

“I’d been talking to him at the beginning. There were human errors there, and I felt that he also wanted to just not go further, because of what he got from social media, the toxic social media.

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“I spoke to him, and it was unfair also for him. The FIA was always supportive.”

Ben Sulayem the revealed even he received “some threats”.

“This is the same thing that’s happening to Silvia [Bellot, FIA steward, after Fernando Alonso received a 30s penalty at the 2022 US Gran Prix], again to some of our members: threats.

“I got some threats also, to reverse the results, but I didn’t take them seriously. But now we stand against the toxic social media that will affect our sport.

“I am a big believer that if we don’t take a stand, we might find the damage will be beyond repair for our sport in the future,” Ben Sulayem concluded.

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