Nine F1 teams deny they asked for investigation into Toto Wolff and his wife

Nine Formula One teams released nearly identical statements Wednesday denying they complained to governing body FIA about an alleged conflict of interest between Mercedes head Toto Wolff and his wife, who works for F1’s management group.

The flurry of statements followed a Wednesday appearance by Red Bull team principal Christian Horner on Sky Sports in which he denied the three-time reigning world champions instigated the investigation.

“We have a big rivalry on track, but we haven’t raised any official complaint about either Susie, or Toto or Mercedes to the FIA,” said Horner, who added Red Bull has worked closely with Susie Wolff in her role as managing director of the all-female series F1 Academy.

“We, like others, were quite surprised by the (FIA) statement, but it certainly wasn’t instigated or required or set off by Red Bull,” Horner said.

The nine remaining teams on the grid all attempted to distance themselves from the investigation into the Wolffs in statements released almost simultaneously.

“We can confirm that we have not made any complaint to the FIA regarding the allegations of information of a confidential nature being passed between an F1 Team Principal and a member of FOM staff,” the Ferrari statement said. “We are pleased and proud to support F1 Academy and its managing director through our commitment to sponsor an entrant in our liveries from next season.”

All nine statements read nearly identical.

On Tuesday, the FIA said it was investigating the Wolffs following allegations of a conflict of interest and whether they have shared confidential information. The FIA said it was “aware of media speculation” about whether confidential information was exchanged, and that its compliance department was “looking into the matter.”

The probe began after a report in BusinessF1 magazine that rival team executives raised concerns about whether Toto and Susie Wolff passed on information discussed in private meetings. Susie Wolff reports to F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali.

The BusinessF1 report said team officials were alarmed when Toto Wolff made comments in a recent meeting that included details they felt could only have come from F1. The report did not detail what was discussed.

The Mercedes team and Formula One Management, which runs the commercial side of F1, denied any allegations of improper sharing of information or conflict of interest.

“We wholly reject the allegation in the statement and associated media coverage, which wrongly impinges on the integrity and compliance of our team principal,” Mercedes said.

Formula One said it has rules and procedures in place to prevent improper information sharing, and it believes the allegations are wrong.

“We are confident that no member of our team has made any unauthorized disclosure to a team principal and would caution anyone against making imprudent and serious allegations without substance,” Formula One said.

In a statement posted on social media, Susie Wolff denied any wrongdoing and said she was “deeply insulted.”

“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 behavior, and focused on my marital status rather than my abilities,” Susie Wolff wrote.

The latest allegations come less than a year after a former Mercedes employee who left the race team to work for the FIA was suspected of leaking details of an investigation into Red Bull violating F1’s cost cap to Toto Wolff.


AP auto racing:

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