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FIA chief accused of trying to cancel HUGE F1 race

FIA chief accused of trying to cancel HUGE F1 race

FIA chief accused of trying to cancel HUGE F1 race

FIA chief accused of trying to cancel HUGE F1 race

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem allegedly told officials not to certify the Las Vegas Grand Prix circuit as safe ahead of the inaugural race late last year.

The return to Vegas for Formula 1 was one of the high points of the 2023 season, both from a fan perspective and a financial one for the sport, with cars racing down the world-famous Las Vegas strip.

As with any new track, the Las Vegas street circuit was the subject of vigorous safety checks before it was passed as suitable to hold an F1 race.

Now, it has been revealed to BBC Sport by an FIA whistleblower that Ben Sulayem allegedly told officials to find a way not to pass the circuit as safe for racing.

The BBC confirmed that this is the same whistleblower that told of potential race interference from Ben Sulayem during the 2023 Saudi Arabian GP, where he allegedly told stewards to overturn a penalty for Fernando Alonso.

READ MORE: FIA president Ben Sulayem INVESTIGATED over alleged F1 race 'interference'

Mohammed Ben Sulayem allegedly tried to tell officials not to pass the Las Vegas circuit as safe
Mohammed Ben Sulayem is the president of the FIA
The Las Vegas Grand Prix was some spectacle at the back end of 2023

Ben Sulayem allegedly involved in race interference

The claim has been made in a report by the FIA's compliance officer to the governing body's ethics committee, who Ben Sulayem has been referred to in an investigation surrounding the alleged race interference issue.

An official FIA spokesperson said in a statement: "From a sporting and safety perspective, the Las Vegas circuit approval followed FIA protocol in terms of inspection and certification.

READ MORE: Wolff reveals Verstappen 'PRIORITY' as Mercedes seek Hamilton replacement

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

As it happened, officials were not able to find any reason not to confirm the circuit as being safe, and therefore the race weekend went ahead, with Max Verstappen claiming victory last November.

However, during practice that weekend, a loose drain cover destroyed Carlos Sainz's Ferrari, prompting major repairs to both the circuit and Sainz's car, causing a long delay to proceedings.

It is unclear as to the motives for Ben Sulayem to allegedly want to cancel the Las Vegas GP, a deal that has been so lucrative for F1.

READ MORE: Horner makes big announcement over Red Bull future

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Fernando Alonso FIA Mohammed Ben Sulayem Las Vegas Grand Prix Saudi Arabian GP BBC Sport
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