Toto Wolff and his wife Susie are reportedly being investigated by the FIA.
Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and his wife Susie are reportedly being investigated by the FIA following complaints from rivals over an alleged conflict of interest. Susie has been the managing director of the F1 Academy series for female drivers, which is a subsidiary of Formula One Group, since being appointed to the role in March.
Some rival figures have complained to the FIA over the family conflict they believe exists between Wolff as a team principal and Susie as an employee of Formula One Group, according to BusinessF1. The figures in question are said to be concerned that Wolff may have access to confidential information, via his wife, that is not available to other team principals.
The complaints were reportedly sparked at a recent meeting between team principals, in which Wolff allegedly had advance information about a topic that came up. Several figures in attendance were said to have concluded that it could only have come from a source within Formula One Group, raising suspicions over the potential sharing of information between Wolff and his wife.
In response, FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem is said to have asked the governing body’s compliance department to launch an investigation. Express Sport have approached Mercedes for comment.
The FIA issued a statement on the matter on Tuesday, saying: “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.”
It comes a year after Mercedes were accused of receiving confidential information from Shaila-Ann Rao, who previously worked alongside Wolff, during her spell as the FIA’s interim secretary-general. She found herself at the centre of Red Bull’s budget cap storm when Mercedes suggested that at least one team had broken financial rules before the news was made official.
Ben Sulayem was quick to deny the claims, though, insisting that Rao had instead been calling for the FIA to take a softer approach in relation to how Red Bull would be punished.
“Shaila-Ann has supported me a lot, you can see her intelligence when it comes to making big decisions for me,” he said in November last year. “Actually, once the penalties were in place for the teams, she said that was a bit harsh of me.
“I looked at her and said: ‘My God’. There’s someone accusing her of being on Mercedes’ side and she’s telling me I’m too tough on Red Bull. We had a meeting in Austria and while we were still talking about something, it was already in the news