Susie Wolff, the F1 Academy managing director, has branded allegations that she told her husband and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff confidential information as “misogynistic”.
The FIA, motorsport’s world governing body, opened an investigation into the pair following complaints from Formula One team principals about a potential conflict of interest.
In her capacity as managing director of F1’s all-female series, Susie Wolff reports directly to F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali.
The concern from team principals is that Toto Wolff has access to confidential knowledge about the activities of Formula One, which rival team bosses do not have, while Susie is well briefed on team principal discussions which can be of use to Formula One.
A report in BusinessF1 magazine suggested that a comment Wolff made in a recent team principal meeting, it is said based on information that could only have come from Formula One, acted as the trigger point for other team principals to complain about a potential conflict of interest.
The Telegraph understands that it also sits uncomfortably with some team principals that Susie Wolff talks to other teams’ sponsors on behalf of the commercial rights holder, thereby gleaning information which could be fed back to Mercedes F1.
But the former F1 test driver hit back at claims she would share confidential information to her husband.
I am deeply insulted but sadly unsurprised by the public allegations that have been made this evening,” she wrote in a statement on social media.
“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.
“As a woman in this sport, I have faced my fair share of challenges but my commitment to breaking down barriers and paving the way for future generations to succeed remains unwavering.
“In the strongest possible terms, I reject these allegations.”
Autosport claims that FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem has been lobbied about this and has now asked his compliance department to investigate.
A statement from the FIA on Tuesday read: “The FIA is aware of media speculation centred on the allegation of information of a confidential nature being passed to an F1 team principal from a member of FOM personnel. The FIA Compliance Department is looking into the matter.”
While Mercedes wrote a statement on behalf of Toto Wolff which read: “A Mercedes statement said: “We note the generic statement from the FIA this evening, which responds to unsubstantiated allegations from a single media outlet, and the off-record briefing which has linked it to the team principal of Mercedes-AMG F1.
“The team has received no communication from the FIA Compliance Department on this topic and it was highly surprising to learn of the investigation through a media statement.
“We wholly reject the allegation in the statement and associated media coverage, which wrongly impinges on the integrity and compliance of our team principal.”
While a Formula One statement read: “We note the public statement made by the FIA this evening that was not shared with us in advance. We have complete confidence that the allegations are wrong, and we have robust processes and procedures that ensure the segregation of information and responsibilities in the event of any potential conflict of interest.
“We are confident that no member of our team has made any unauthorised disclosure to a Team Principal and would caution anyone against making imprudent and serious allegations without substance.”