The International Automobile Federation (FIA) has dropped its investigation into a potential conflict of interest between Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and his wife Susie Wolff after concluding they did not share confidential information.
A report in BusinessF1 magazine said there was concern among other Formula One team principals that Toto Wolff was benefiting from information, via his wife, which was not being shared with them.
Susie Wolff, who is F1 Academy managing director, vehemently rejected the allegations after the FIA announced on Tuesday its compliance department was ‘looking in to the matter’.
The governing body concluded no wrongdoing has taken place and announced there is no ongoing investigation involving any individual.
‘Following a review of Formula One Management’s F1 Code of Conduct and F1 Conflict of Interest Policy and confirmation that appropriate protective measures are in place to mitigate any potential conflicts, the FIA is satisfied that FOM’s compliance management system is robust enough to prevent any unauthorized disclosure of confidential information,’ read a statement.
‘The FIA can confirm that there is no ongoing investigation in terms of ethical or disciplinary inquiries involving any individual.
‘As the regulator, the FIA has a duty to maintain the integrity of global motorsport. The FIA reaffirms its commitment to integrity and fairness.’
In her role at the all-female F1 academy, to which she was appointed in March, Susie Wolff reports directly to Formula One president and chief executive Stefano Domenicali.
A social media post from her on Tuesday read: ‘I am deeply insulted but sadly unsurprised by the public allegations that have been made this evening.
‘It is disheartening that my integrity is being called into question in such a manner, especially when it seems to be rooted in intimidatory and misogynistic behaviour, and focused on my marital status rather than my abilities.
‘Throughout my career in motorsport, I have encountered and overcome numerous obstacles and I refuse to let these baseless allegations overshadow my dedication and passion for F1 Academy.’
She continued: ‘In the strongest possible terms, I reject these allegations.’
Conflicts of interest are part of the Formula One game. In one of many examples, Domenicali was team principal of Ferrari for seven years.
The sport is such a small world, so it’s impossible to find experience that doesn’t come with history at one of the teams, or connections with influential motorsport figures.
The knock-on effects of this incident, though, could be far reaching. There are reports that Mercedes will approach the FIA about the reputational damage caused by this episode.
All nine rival teams releasing identical statements refuting the allegations that the FIA had been contacted by certain outfits was a notable show of unity.
Meanwhile, this is yet another flashpoint between Formula One and the FIA, and senior figures are beginning to lose the already thin patience they had with president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.