Personal ’attacks’ all about Andretti - FIA boss
"Even when my son died, they attacked me, insulted me"
FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has opened up on the attacks on him from inside Formula 1 earlier this year.
It is well known that he is currently at odds with the sport’s owner Liberty Media over the green-lit Andretti-Cadillac, and it emerged this week that F1 may even be trying to woo General Motors away from the hopeful American entry.
Ben Sulayem thinks accusations of sexism and bullying earlier this year were linked to his efforts to bring an eleventh team to the grid.
"I went through hell," the FIA chief is quoted by Speed Week, revealing that the personal attacks coincided with the car-crash death earlier this year of his son Saif.
"I ask myself, what did I do to deserve all those attacks in February and March? They attacked me the day I opened the expression of interest," he declared.
"Even when my son died, they attacked me, insulted me, just to break me because I had opened Formula 1 to the world."
Currently, there are rumours that Formula 1 is delaying the process of commercial talks with Andretti-Cadillac so that the American outfit runs out of time to prepare a car for 2025.
Team boss Michael Andretti, however, revealed in Austin that a wind tunnel model of the 2025 car is already in the Toyota wind tunnel in Cologne.
Even so, the green-light from Liberty Media is yet to be shone.
"We have hired many top engineers who want to know what happens next," Andretti admitted.
He also hit back at claims that General Motors’ backing of the F1 project via the Cadillac brand is purely symbolic, insisting GM is "also involved in chassis development".
However, the team would require a customer engine at least initially, with the first real Cadillac power unit only realistic in 2027 or so at the earliest.
Michael’s legendary father Mario Andretti said: "GM is enthusiastically involved and fully committed to the project at all levels.
"It is the last big dream of my life to see this project start," the 83-year-old added.
More on FIA
Andretti F1 Team - Cadillac Racing
More on Andretti F1 Team - Cadillac Racing