Oct.22 (GMM) Fernando Alonso occasionally picks up the phone to FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem – and starts to swear!
But Ben Sulayem, boss of the Paris based federation that regulates Formula 1, says the two-time champion is nonetheless a “true example for young drivers”.
“He was in Formula 1, he left, he came back and he is as strong as ever,” the FIA president told the Spanish newspaper AS at the US GP.
“That is so difficult, as F1 is extreme. He’s not just a champion, he’s smart. I’m not saying that others aren’t, but Fernando is a truly intelligent champion. So good for the sport.”
Alonso, at 42, is also easily the oldest and most experienced active driver on the grid, who according to the FIA boss is not shy to often take his infamous outspokenness straight to the top.
“When he gets angry he calls me. ‘Boss! President!’ Then he says some swear words,” Ben Sulayem laughed.
“I wait for him to finish and I tell him he’s putting the rappers to shame with those words. But we are both drivers and I understand the frustrations they have.
“He is really good at this sport because he also talks, he has good ideas and he brings enormous value to F1. Aside from his speed and the improvement he brings to the team, which is undeniable,” he said of the Aston Martin driver.
Following some early controversies this year, Ben Sulayem kept a notably low profile for most of the rest of the season – until now.
Having approved Andretti-Cadillac for 2025 or 2026, he is now actively pushing Formula One Management to also welcome an eleventh team to the grid.
“FOM think about stocks, right?” Ben Sulayem said. “Well, when we announced Andretti, the share price went up.
“We need teams as good as General Motors and Andretti,” he insisted. “The others lose a piece of the pie, but value is added to the sport.
“In the long term, this will bring more fans to the sport. Look at 2026 – do you think Audi would want to enter F1 to be humiliated?”