Toto Wolff and wife Susie under FIA investigation

Wolff: Susie feels wrong was done, the court needs to hear that

Toto Wolff and wife Susie under FIA investigation

Toto Wolff believes his wife Susie Wolff´s criminal complaint against the Formula 1 governing body will help increase transparency within the sport by bringing it “into the real world.”

The Mercedes F1 team boss is in Melbourne this week for the Australian Grand Prix. Susie Wolff, director of the all-female junior racing series F1 Academy, didn´t travel for the third GP of the season after announcing Wednesday she´d launched legal action on March 4 in a French court “in relation to statements made against me” by the FIA.

The Wolffs were the subject of an FIA investigation last December which sought to determine if the couple shared confidential information. It followed allegations of a conflict of interest published in BusinessF1 magazine. But FIA closed its investigation after just 48 hours, following near identical statements from the other nine teams denying they´d lodged the complaint required to commence it.

“First of all, Susie is a strong woman. She doesn´t take anything from anyone and has always, always followed through on her convictions and values,” Wolff said in a television interview for Sky after the first two practice sessions Friday in Melbourne. “And that´s the case here. She´s very unemotional about it. And pragmatic.

“She feels wrong was done and the court needs to hear that. Nothing´s going to bring her off that path.”

Support within the paddock for Susie Wolff

Before racing got underway in Australia, Mercedes’ seven-time F1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton criticized FIA’s lack of transparency over governance while supporting Susie Wolff´s “bravery” for taking the legal action. McLaren chief executive Zak Brown backed that opinion Friday, saying “I think Susie is one of the most respected people in motorsport.”

Confirmation of the criminal complaint in the French court was revealed hours after the FIA´s Ethics Committee had cleared its president, Mohammed Ben Sulayem, from “interference of any kind” at two F1 events last year. The ongoing controversy at series-leading Red Bull involving team principal Christian Horner is yet another off-track issue overshadowing the start of the F1 season.

Toto Wolff noted that the overriding theme in recent weeks had been about cases of “in-transparency” and it wasn’t acceptable for such a major sport.

“Susie … started that process many months ago (and) has done it very diligently, as far as I´m concerned,” he said. “It matters for her most to find out what happened and … things are not brushed under the carpet.

“I think we as a sport, we need to do that in all areas and whether it is Susie´s case or whether it´s some case with another team,” he added. “Overall, I think (F1) has such a massive platform and maybe sometimes we need to take it out of the (jurisdiction) of our sport into the real world and see what it does.” (The Associated Press)