Toto Wolff has made his anger towards the FIA quite clear, stressing a “red line” was crossed with their recent investigation which brought his family into play.
Formula 1’s governing body the FIA caused a stir with the recent announcement of an investigation into a potential conflict of interest involving a member of Formula One Management and an unnamed F1 team boss.
With Mercedes principal Toto Wolff’s name linked as a result of an internal FIA briefing, and his wife Susie Wolff implicated by association, Mercedes issued a statement to announce their surprise and denial, FOM also hitting back at the FIA investigation.
Toto Wolff slams FIA ‘personal attack’
The investigation was swiftly concluded, with the FIA satisfied with the robustness of FOM’s own compliance management system, though it left a sour taste, Susie issuing a social media post in which she described herself as “collateral damage” and revealed she became the subject of online abuse.
Toto had confirmed in recent days that an “active legal exchange” had been opened between Mercedes and the FIA regarding this investigation, one which he has now heavily criticised the FIA over after his family were brought into play.
“An absurd accusation was created out of nowhere,” he is widely quoted as having told Sport Bild. “This was a personal attack in which a red line was crossed.
“After 10 years as team boss, I’m already pretty hardened [to hearing things], but this story was shocking.
“If I’m caught in the crossfire, that’s not a problem for me at all. I’ve developed a thick skin and can take it. But when people go after my family, that’s a different level.”
Mercedes’ seven-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton also spoke out against the FIA in relation to their treatment of Susie.
Speaking to media ahead of the FIA Prize Giving Gala, Hamilton said: “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 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.”
2024 marks a landmark season in the F1 Academy series which Susie manages, with all 10 F1 teams to select one driver to compete with their livery for the upcoming campaign.