Ben Sulayem: I am very confident Lewis will not retire
President of the FIA Mohammed Ben Sulayem poured cold water on suggestions Lewis Hamilton is about to retire and said the seven-time Formula One world champion is a fundamental part of the sport.
The Mercedes driver is deeply saddened since the final of the 2021 season in Abu Dhabi, under the watchful eye of Ben Sulayem, the Briton refused an eighth title in controversial circumstances. The title, instead, goes to the new world champion in the sport, Max Verstappen.
A Mercedes protest was ultimately hushed up, but Toto Wolff’s team made it clear that they felt robbed on a night that shifted the F1 community from pundits to casual fans, triggering Hamilton’s stories that were exacerbated by his social media blackout.
Ben Sulayem attending this year’s Dakar rally start in Saudi Arabia was asked about Hamilton, who missed the FIA ââAwards event in Paris last month and the rumors.
The new president, who has F1 drivers on speed dial, told reporters: âI sent a message to Lewis, but I don’t think he’s ready to talk about what happened in Abu Dhabi. He never said he wanted to retire.
Meanwhile, with the FIA ââelection, Jean Todt resigns and Ben Sulayem takes over, all following the controversial final of the season and the holiday season between the two.
There was little time to analyze and make decisions following the Abu Dhabi final
Ben Sulayem explained: âI was elected only two weeks ago and I am still studying what happened. F1 is a dynamic sport and so we have to be active rather than reactive, the rules have to be adapted. Rules are not the word of God, they can be improved.
With the top three drivers in the F1 world championship standings obligated by the rules to attend the FIA ââAwards event, Verstappen vice-champion Hamilton was notably absent.
At the time, Ben Sulayem insisted that if the rules were broken, there would be repercussions. But it looks like that too is on hold at the moment.
The FIA ââPresident revealed: âI just sent a message to Lewis, I don’t think he’s 100% ready to talk about what happened, I understand his position. It’s not about punishing a driver or a team, it’s about enforcing the rules, but I don’t want to make a decision without having studied the facts in depth.
As for Hamilton’s retirement, Ben Sulayem asked the interviewer, âDid you hear Lewis say he wants to retire? No. “He added:” I’m confident, very confident, that he will be on the grid. Lewis is a fundamental part of our sport.
Nicolas Hamilton last month hinted that his brother’s absence and silence was just to calm down after an epic season.