Lewis Hamilton tears into FIA over ‘unacceptable’ treatment of Susie Wolff

Jamie Woodhouse
Lewis Hamilton in the paddock at COTA.

Lewis Hamilton in the F1 paddock.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton made his disappointment in the FIA clear, saying certain leaders are “holding us back” as he threw his support behind F1 Academy managing director Susie Wolff.

The Mercedes team has confirmed that a legal exchange with the FIA is now active, in regards to their decision to investigate an alleged conflict of interest regarding a member of Formula One Management and an F1 team boss, an investigation swiftly concluded.

An initial BusinessF1 Magazine report led to F1 Academy managing director Wolff being named as the member of FOM personnel in question, though she and Mercedes quickly released statements to deny all allegations, which has resulted in the team exploring legal avenues.

Lewis Hamilton speaks out in support of Susie Wolff

In her latest social media statement, Wolff said: “When I saw the statement issued by the FIA yesterday, my first reaction was ‘is that it?’

“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 attempt on somebody or the target of a failed attempt to discredit me personally, but I’ve worked too hard to have my reputation called into question by an unfounded press release.

“We’ve come a long way as a sport. I was extremely thankful for the unified support of the Formula 1 teams, I’ve 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 received online abuse about my work and my family. I will not allow myself to be intimidated 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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And when speaking to media ahead of the FIA prize-giving gala in Baku, Hamilton, whose charitable work addresses diversity and inclusivity in the F1 environment, said it was “unacceptable” how Wolff had been treated.

“It’s been a challenging week, 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 in Susie Wolff without questioning, without any evidence,” Hamilton stated. “And then just saying ‘sorry’ at the end, and that’s just unacceptable.

“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 seems there are certain individuals in the leadership of the FIA that every time we try and make a step forward they are trying to pull us back, and that has to change.”

Wolff took on the role of managing director of the all-female junior category F1 Academy in March 2023.

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