Mohammed bin Sulayem succeeds Jean Todt as FIA president

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Mohammed bin Sulayem, a 14-time Middle Eastern rally champion, will succeed Jean Todt as president of the FIA

United Arab Emirates' rally champion Mohammed Bin Sulayem arrives for a session of FIA 2010, on December 11, 2009 in Monaco. Formula One's governing body, the FIA, announced yesterday a plan to radically overhaul the points system in 2010. The plan to give points to the top ten finishers in each race will go before the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) for approval today. Under the news system 25 points will be awarded to each race winner, 20 for second place, 15 for third and 10 for fourth, before descending 8-6-5-3-2-1 for fifth through 10th positions. AFP PHOTO VALERY HACHE (Photo credit should read VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)

Mohammed bin Sulayem is the first non-European to be elected as president of the FIA

VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images

Former rally driver Mohammed bin Sulayem has been elected as the new president of the FIA, succeeding the outgoing Jean Todt.

He has taken over from the Frenchman, who was finishing his third term as president, by winning 61.6% of votes.

The 14-time Middle Eastern rally champion was thought to be the favourite heading into the vote, having served as vice president for several years.

Ben Sulayem has been a central figure in the Middle East’s emergence as a major player in motor sport over the last two decades, wielding significant power and influence.

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This included the running of the Abu Dhabi GP in 2009, organising over 700 staff and volunteers in what F1’s first ever day and night race.

Mohammed Ben Sulayem was the first Arab to be elected to the World Motor Sport Council, serving as FIA vice-president from 2008 onwards.

The first non-European to elected to the role of president, the Emirati has emphasised his focus on training and knowledge transfer – he first got that initiative underway as president of the UAE’s national governing body, chairing the Motor Sport Development Task Force that was set up in 2013, which was created by the FIA to devise a ten-year plan for the sport’s global development.