Hamilton: Disappointing the FIA questioned Susie Wolff's integrity

Hamilton on Susie Wolff FIA lawsuit: I love that she’s taking it out of this world

Hamilton: Disappointing the FIA questioned Susie Wolff's integrity

Seven-time Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton has applauded Susie Wolff for taking legal action against the governing FIA, saying he hopes it will improve transparency and accountability in the sport.

Wolff, one of the top women in motorsport and the wife of Mercedes F1 boss Toto, said on Wednesday she had filed a criminal complaint in France against the FIA for a conflict of interest inquiry last year.

Wolff announced her move after FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem was cleared of alleged interference in two races last year by its ethics committee.

In the lead up to the Australian Grand Prix on Sunday, Mercedes driver Hamilton said he was incredibly proud of Wolff and described her as brave for standing up in a world where “people are often silenced”.

“And I love that she’s taking it out of this world — fight it from outside because there is a real lack of accountability here, within this sport, the FIA, things that are happening behind closed doors,” he told reporters in the paddock at Albert Park on Thursday.

“There is no transparency, there is really no accountability. We need that. I think the fans need that. How can you trust the sport and what is happening here?” the Briton questioned.

The FIA did not provide immediate comment to Reuters on Thursday about Wolff’s legal action or Hamilton’s comments.

The FIA announced in December an inquiry into the Wolffs following a magazine report that a team boss had received confidential information from an employee of the commercial rights holder.

However, the inquiry was swiftly shelved after all nine other F1 teams issued statements in support of Susie Wolff.

Times of controversy for F1

Wolff’s legal action follows internal strife at F1 team Red Bull, whose boss Christian Horner was cleared of alleged misconduct after a complaint by a female employee.

The unidentified woman was suspended after her grievance was dismissed by an independent investigation but is appealing the outcome, British media reported.

The FIA has yet to confirm reports she also raised an official complaint with them.

Hamilton said he hoped Wolff’s legal move could create change and have a positive impact in F1, especially for women.

“It’s still a male-dominated sport and we’re living in a time where the message is: if you file a complaint, you will be fired,” he added.

“And that is a terrible narrative to be projecting to the world, especially when we’re talking about inclusivity here in the sport. We need to make sure that we stay true to the core values,” he explained.

Mercedes driver George Russell echoed his teammate’s call for transparency in decision-making by F1 authorities.

“I think it’s so, so important for the sport now, as Lewis said, to send the right message to everybody who is supporting Formula 1 … that things aren’t just swept under the carpet,” Russell said. (Reporting by Ian Ransom)