Formula 1 teams have come together to refute any claims that they lodged a complaint with the FIA regarding allegations that led to a compliance investigation involving Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and his wife Susie.
Late on Tuesday, the FIA revealed that it had launched an investigation into allegations of a potential conflict of interest involving the exchange of confidential information between a team principal and an employee of Formula One Management (FOM).
While the FIA refrained from naming individuals, the focus of the probe was widely perceived to be directed at Toto Wolf and his wife Susie, who serves as managing director of the F1 Academy.
The FIA’s announcement cited media speculation, particularly an article in the BusinessF1 magazine, as the catalyst for their compliance investigation. However, it was also reported that sources within the FIA hinted at complaints from team principals as the underlying prompt.
- Read also: Susie Wolff ‘deeply insulted’ by conflict-of-interest allegations
It now appears that these complaints did not originate from Mercedes’ rivals. In a remarkable show of solidarity and support, for Susie Wolff in particular, all the teams issued in a coordinated effort on Wednesday evening quasi identical statements, emphatically stating their non-involvement in the FIA’s actions.
“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,” read the basic statement issued by each team individually.
“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.”
Speaking to Sky Sports News earlier in the day, Red Bull team principal Christian Horner – who has frequently locked horns with Toto Wolff in the past – made clear that his team had not filed any sort of complaint with the FIA.
“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,” commented Horner.
“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.”
According to a report from Motorsport.com, Mercedes had yet to receive on Wednesday evening any official communication from the FIA regarding the latter’s compliance investigation, despite the governing body’s public announcement on Tuesday night.
This lack of communication further complicates the FIA’s position and raises questions about the transparency of its actions.
The pressure is now on the governing body and on its president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, to offer an explanation as to what prompted its decision to involve its compliance department.
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