The pile-on continues as Lewis Hamilton, without naming names, hits out at the FIA leadership over its treatment of Susie Wolff this week and in particular the damage done in terms of diversity and inclusion.
With teammate George Russell sure to have something to say on the matter in due course, seven-time world champion Hamilton, who is attending the FIA’s prize-giving gala for the first time since boycotting the 2021 event in the wake of the Abu Dhabi controversy, hit out at the FIA over this week’s shambolic saga involving his team boss, Toto Wolff, his wife Susie and F1, whereby a magazine article claimed there was a conflict of interest, an unfounded claim that the FIA unwisely acted upon.
Susie Wolff has taken it particularly badly, claiming that the investigation – which was subsequently dropped – was “rooted in intimidatory and misogynistic behaviour”.
It is with this aspect of the saga in mind that Hamilton spoke out in Baku today.
“It’s been a challenging week,” said the Briton. “I think a disappointing week really to see that the governing body of our sport has sought to question the integrity of one of the most incredible female leaders we’ve ever had in our sport, with Susie Wolff, without questioning, without any evidence, and then just saying ‘sorry’ at the end.
“That’s just unacceptable,” he added. “We’ve got a lot of great people within the sport that are doing amazing work. There is a constant fight to really improve diversity and inclusion within the industry.
“But it seems that there are certain individuals in the leadership within the FIA that every time we try and make a step forward, they’re trying to pull us back. And that has to change.”
“This is a global sport,” he continued. “And we have such an incredible opportunity and a natural responsibility to be leaders of change. And as we’re travelling to all those countries around the world, we have a responsibility to make sure that we’re pushing in the right direction.
“So I want to acknowledge that there are a lot of people that are doing great work. But we need to make some changes to make sure that we’re all pushing in the right direction.”
The Briton also took the opportunity to heap praise upon his boss.
“Toto is an amazing leader,” he said. “I’ve known him for a long time. We joined the team at the same time. It’s been an interesting journey for both of us to both grow with the team, to see his vision grow and progress within the structure of the team. He hasn’t lost an ounce of his competitiveness he’s massively competitive.
“You see it on TV even when he’s sitting at his little desk in the garage. Trying to find a balance in life of work life and family life I think he’s done a really great job there.
“But I think just continuing to push everyone – yesterday again we were talking to the team together. He’s a very, very approachable leader, and I think people can relate to him, to his emotions and just to his compassion, or his drive.
“He’s very understanding. I think it’s definitely not been easy for anybody in the team when you’re working towards something, but it’s not quite going the way you want it.
“I think there’s been many lessons, and I’ve been really proud to see the progress that he’s made just as an individual and as a human being as well.”