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Susie Wolff blasts FIA for 'misleading' and 'unfounded' probe

Susie Wolff has blasted the FIA for lacking communication, transparency and accountability after it “misled” people by attempting an “unfounded” probe into a supposed conflict of interest.

Susie Wolff speaks at the Financial Times Business of F1 Forum 2023

Susie Wolff speaks at the Financial Times Business of F1 Forum 2023

Glenn Dunbar / Motorsport Images

On Tuesday, the F1 Academy managing director and spouse of Toto Wolff, the Mercedes motorsport boss, were set to be the subject of an investigation by the FIA Compliance Department.

This followed highly dubious media reports that Toto Wolff had raised comments in a meeting between Formula 1 team principals that could have only come from Formula One Management information - to which Susie Wolff might theoretically have greater access.

READ MORE: The lingering questions remain from the Wolff/FIA saga

F1 and Mercedes condemned the allegation and took aim at the governing body for failing to adequately communicate the pending investigation.

Susie Wolff suggested alternative motives were at play, writing that the matter was rooted “in intimidatory and misogynistic behaviour”.

This prompted an almost unprecedented display of unity from the nine remaining F1 teams, who coordinated the release of a joint statement denying they had made any complaints to the FIA.

Since a team boss ostensibly complaining about Toto Wolff’s access to information was said to have prompted the investigation, it placed immense pressure on the FIA to divulge why it had formalised the matter.

However, on Thursday, the governing body commented only to say that the investigation would not proceed and that FOM processes had proved robust enough to protect against any conflict of information.

A statement read: “Following a review of Formula One Management’s F1 Code of Conduct and F1 Conflict of Interest Policy and confirmation that appropriate protective measures are in place to mitigate any potential conflicts, the FIA is satisfied that FOM’s compliance management system is robust enough to prevent any unauthorised disclosure of confidential information.

“The FIA can confirm that there is no ongoing investigation in terms of ethical or disciplinary inquiries involving any individual.

“As the regulator, the FIA has a duty to maintain the integrity of global motorsport. The FIA reaffirms its commitment to integrity and fairness.”

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

Photo by: Carl Bingham / Motorsport Images

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

But Susie Wolff believes this response falls short of what is required. In a social media post, she wrote in response: “My first reaction was: ‘Is that it?’”

Wolff added that the FIA has not been directly in touch with her throughout, while the public manner of the “unfounded” announcement about an investigation has led to online abuse. As such, Wolff wants answers for who “instigated this campaign and misled the media”.

She continued: “For two days, insinuations have been made about my integrity in public and through background briefings, but nobody from the FIA has spoken to me directly.

“I might have been collateral damage in an unsuccessful attack on somebody else, or the target of a failed attempt to discredit me personally, but I have worked too hard to have my reputation called into question by an unfounded press release.

“We have come a long way as a sport. I was extremely thankful for the unified support of the Formula 1 teams. I have worked with so many passionate women and men at F1 and the FIA, who have the very best interests of our sport at heart.

“However, this episode has so far taken place without transparency or accountability. I have received online abuse about my work and my family. I will not allow myself to be intimated and intend to follow up until I have found out who has instigated this campaign and misled the media.

“What happened this week is simply not good enough. As a sport, we must demand, and we deserve, better.”

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