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Susie Wolff has lodged a criminal accusation against the governing body of Formula One.
F1 Sport

Susie Wolff has lodged a criminal accusation against the governing body of Formula One.

The managing director of the F1 Academy, Susie Wolff, has lodged a legal grievance against the FIA, the governing body of Formula One. The accusations leveled against her and her husband, Toto Wolff, by the FIA last year were ultimately proven to be baseless.

In December 2023, Wolff and her spouse were the focus of an investigation into a potential conflict of interest by the FIA. The investigation arose from a claim that private information was being shared between a team member and a representative of Formula One Management (FOM), the owner of the sport. The primary individuals involved were Toto Wolff and his wife, who oversees the F1 Academy, a series owned and operated by FOM.

Both sides vigorously denied the accusation and after 48 hours of initiating the inquiry, the FIA determined that neither party was responsible.

Wolff was very clear in stating that the investigation initiated by the FIA and made public had caused significant damage to her and her husband’s reputation. On Wednesday, she announced on social media that she plans to pursue the issue.

I personally submitted a criminal report on March 4 to the French court concerning the accusations made against me by the FIA last December,” she stated. “The behavior of the FIA and its staff regarding this issue has yet to be addressed with transparency and accountability.”

I believe it is crucial to speak up and hold people accountable for their actions. Staying silent does not excuse anyone from responsibility.

Following the announcement of the investigation, there was an immediate backlash from various members of the Formula 1 (F1) community. The next day, in an uncommon and unexpected move, all nine F1 teams released extremely similar statements reiterating that they had not lodged any complaints regarding the sharing of information and demonstrating unanimous backing for the F1 Academy.

The event and the FIA’s subsequent reversal was embarrassing for the governing body, particularly since it failed to provide reasoning for its decisions.

The decision to conduct an investigation was triggered by a solitary media report without any evidence, claiming that Wolff’s statement was based on information from a member of FOM personnel. The FIA stated that the reason for the investigation was due to “media speculation,” but there was no additional evidence besides this one source.

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The response was immediate. Mercedes strongly denounced the inquiry and so did Wolff, who labeled it “offensive” and based on “intimidating and sexist actions”. FOM also expressed firmness, cautioning against making hasty and serious accusations without evidence.

After the incident, the FIA did not apologize or provide any additional explanation for its actions, stating that its policy does not allow for the disclosure of complaint details or their evaluation to the public.

Wolff’s case has brought increased attention to the policies and practices of the embattled body. On Wednesday, the organization announced the completion of its internal investigation into accusations of race interference by its president, Mohammed ben Sulayem. He was found innocent, but no information was shared about the investigation or the complaints made.

Source: theguardian.com