Formula 1 boss Mohammed ben Sulayem has hit back at allegations of sexism stemming in part from now-deleted remarks on his personal website.
An archived version of the FIA president’s old site states that he does “not like women who think they are smarter than men, for they are not in truth”, it emerged this year.
A few months later Ben Sulayem was also reportedly accused of sexist behaviour by the FIA’s former interim secretary general for motorsport, Shaila-Ann Rao.
“It says: ‘I hate when women think they are smarter than us’. But they hate when men think they are smarter than them,” said the Emirati.
“Did I say we are smarter? No. Did I say they are less smart? No. For God’s sake, if that is the only thing they have against me, please be my guest, you can do worse than that.
“People can go back and see what has been said, and if I have said anything against women. In 117 years of the FIA, I am the only president who brought in a female CEO [Natalie Robyn].”
Addressing the claims reported to have been made by Rao, Ben Sulayem added: “Shaila-Ann wanted to be the CEO. We had 150 applications, and everybody went through that process.”
The 62-year-old former rally driver also justified his decision not to hand the disputed 2021 Formula 1 title to Lewis Hamilton, comparing it to England’s controversial 1966 World Cup final win.
“I even had people threatening me to kill me because I had the power to change it,” Ben Sulayem told the PA news agency.
“But I said to them: ‘Sorry, the World Cup of 1966, England against Germany, was that correct? Did they change it? No.’ Did they give it to Germany? Nein.”