FIA Presidential candidate Sulayem gets Motorsport UK support

FIA presidential candidate Mohammed ben Sulayem has received a boost to his hopes of winning this month's election after receiving the backing of influential British organisations Motorsport UK and the RAC.

Sulayem is going up against Graham Stoker in the battle to become successor to outgoing FIA president Jean Todt. The vote will take place on December 17.

Neither candidate has emerged as a clear frontrunner so far, as both camps bid to secure the votes of the national motorsport and motoring clubs that will decide the outcome.

On Friday, however, Sulayem's campaign was officially endorsed by Motorsport UK, the governing body of British motorsport, and the MSA, which was a founding member of the FIA.

The move by Motorsport UK and the RAC could be especially influential in encouraging other organisations to get behind Sulayem.

David Richards, the former F1 team boss who runs Motorsport UK, said he believed that what Sulayem offered, and especially plans for widescale change, was best for the future.

"We feel that the team for Mohammad, they haven't got all the answers and they'd be the first to accept that, but they do accept the need for change," explained Richards.

"We feel that in these turbulent times and what's going on ahead of us, that's what's required. We can't just sort of accept: just trust us. It'll be business as usual and it will all be fine.

"I honestly don't think this is right in this day and age. So our vote is going to go to Mohammed ben Sulayem."

Both Sulayem and Stoker were invited to present their visions for the future in a video conference with the board members of Motorsport UK and the RAC, prior to their answers being made available to all club members.

However, Richards said that Stoker's team decided against letting the video be released.

"Graham Stoker's team decided that they did not want that video to be shared with our members subsequent, which is somewhat confusing, and a big surprise to us to receive that," added Richards.

"On our website, you will see the other team, the Mohammed bin Sulayem team, their video is shown in its entirety. So it left our boards and our members in somewhat confusion, I think, about the state we're in at the moment.

"And it certainly doesn't sit well with us that we can't share this information and share the video with people."

While Stoker has not won the support of Motorsport UK and the RAC, his campaign has been backed by a number of other well-known figures.

Alan Gow, CEO of the British Touring Car Championship and Member of the Motorsport UK Council, said: "I've known and worked closely with Graham since 1995 and have seen first-hand his devotion to helping develop motorsport both in the UK and across the world.

"Graham always puts the sport first, has the grass roots and member clubs at heart and is entirely committed to making the sport more inclusive."

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