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Mercedes F1 rivals all deny filing FIA complaint over Wolff allegations

Formula 1 teams have united in denying that any of them complained to the FIA over allegations that triggered a compliance investigation against Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and wife Susie.

Toto Wolff, Team Principal and CEO, Mercedes AMG, arrives into the paddock with Susie Wolff

On Tuesday, the governing body announced it was looking into an alleged conflict of interest regarding the transfer of confidential information between a team principal and FOM employee.

Although the FIA did not mention names, it was widely understood this was Toto and Susie Wolff, who is managing director of the F1 Academy series.

In its statement, the FIA said that its compliance investigation was prompted by speculation in the media, which referred to an article in the BusinessF1 magazine, while sources at the governing body indicated there had been complaints from team principals.

But suggestions that team principals objected appears to have been untrue, with all of Mercedes’ rivals declaring they were not involved in any complaints.

In a coordinated effort to show support for Susie Wolff in particular, the teams all issued near identical statements on Wednesday evening making it clear that they were not the trigger for the FIA actions.

The statements, which were slightly tweaked to incorporate some team names, said: “We can confirm that we have not made any complaint to the FIA regarding the allegation of information of a confidential nature being passed between an F1 Team Principal and a member of FOM staff.

“We are pleased and proud to support F1 Academy and its managing director through our commitment to sponsor an entrant in our liveries from next season.”

Susie Wolff

Photo by: Erik Junius

Susie Wolff

Earlier in the day, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner, who is known to have had tough times with Toto Wolff in the past, also declared his squad had not lodged anything official with the FIA.

Speaking to Sky Sports News, Horner said: “Look, we have a big rivalry on track but we haven't raised any official complaint, either about Susie or Toto or Mercedes to the FIA.

“In fact, Red Bull has been the team that has got most involved with F1 Academy from its inception and to the point that between the two Red Bull-owned teams we'll be entering three cars. We've been working closely with Susie who's been doing a great job on F1 Academy.

“So, I think we, like others, were quite surprised at the statement that came out last night. But it certainly wasn't instigated or required or set off by Red Bull.”

The almost unprecedented unity of the response to the allegations among teams will likely serve to heap pressure on the FIA to offer an explanation as to what has prompted its decision to involve the compliance department.

On Wednesday evening, it is understood that Mercedes had still not received any official correspondence from the FIA regarding the investigation – even though the FIA had decided to go public with a media statement on Tuesday night.

Start action

Photo by: Red Bull Content Pool

Start action

In a strongly worded statement Mercedes issued on Tuesday night, it denied the allegations made against Wolff and demanded full transparency from the FIA over what was going on.

It added: “As a matter of course, we invite full, prompt, and transparent correspondence from the FIA Compliance Department regarding this investigation and its contents.”

The FIA has been approached for comment.

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