Sexist remarks attributed to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem do not reflect his beliefs, motorsport’s governing body has said.
Ben Sulayem, 61, the first Arab to become FIA president when he replaced Jean Todt in 2021, was quoted on an archived version of his old website that he does “not like women who think they are smarter than men”.
A spokesperson for the FIA told the PA news agency: “The remarks in this archived website from 2001 do not reflect the president’s beliefs.
“He has a strong record on promoting women and equality in sport, which he is happy to be judged on. It was a central part of his manifesto and actions taken this year and the many years he served as vice-president for sport prove this.”
The website’s contents were revealed by The Times on Friday, while it is understood senior figures at the FIA had known about them since Ben Sulayem was appointed president in December 2021.
On the website Ben Sulayem said that he does not like talking “about money, nor do I like women who think they are smarter than men, for they are not in truth”.
The FIA appointed Natalie Robyn as its first chief executive officer in September last year and the previous July made Tanya Kutsenko its first ever equality, diversity and inclusion advisor, which had been a manifesto goal of Ben Sulyem.