Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has criticized the FIA’s handling of the investigation into Toto and Susie Wolff, calling it “embarrassing for the sport.” Vasseur’s comments highlight the need for discretion and thoroughness in Formula 1 governance.
- Swift Closure of Wolff Investigation: The FIA’s quick dismissal of the probe into Toto and Susie Wolff, which concerned a potential conflict of interest, was settled within two days, raising questions about the governing body’s process and its impact on individuals’ reputations.
- Vasseur’s Strong Stance: Fred Vasseur, speaking to Motorsport.com, condemned the FIA’s approach to the Wolff investigation, suggesting a more private and thorough investigation before making public announcements.
- Unprecedented Team Unity: Remarkably, the incident led to an unusual display of solidarity among F1 teams, including rivals like Red Bull, who supported Mercedes in this situation, reflecting a growing need for cohesive action and dialogue among teams and stakeholders in F1.
Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur has openly criticized the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA) over its recent investigation involving Toto Wolff, the Mercedes team boss, and Susie Wolff, the F1 Academy managing director. Vasseur expressed his disapproval of how the governing body hastily released information about the investigation, which was later dismissed without any findings of misconduct.
This situation began when the FIA’s compliance department publicly announced it was investigating a potential conflict of interest involving the Wolffs for exchanging confidential information. However, the matter was resolved quickly, with the FIA stating that it was satisfied with existing measures to prevent the sharing of confidential information. Despite the quick resolution, the episode had already cast a shadow over the Wolffs’ reputations.
Vasseur, in his conversation with Motorsport.com, did not mince words. He emphasized, “I think this story is quite embarrassing for our sport. The story started with an article in a newspaper, I don’t know if newspaper is the right word. And I think in this situation when you are speaking about an individual, you have to take care of what you are saying. I think it would have been appropriate from the FIA; they needed 24 hours between the [first] announcement and the second announcement. It would have made sense to use the 24 hours before the first announcement [to investigate], to avoid any bad conclusions.”
The incident not only highlighted the need for more careful handling of sensitive issues by the FIA but also led to an unprecedented display of unity among Formula 1 teams. Vasseur revealed that for the first time, all teams, including rivals like Red Bull, rallied in support of Mercedes. “After the ‘incident’ of last week at least the teams were very united. The first conclusion for me is that we were able to act together and it’s not very often that even Red Bull was supportive of Toto! And honestly, I think it’s a good point for us also to take position and to discuss with the other stakeholders. I think it’s the first time the teams together showed something like this,” said Vasseur.
This situation underscores the delicate balance that the FIA must maintain in governing the sport, where the reputations of teams and individuals are at stake. The response from the F1 community and the swift resolution of the investigation may serve as a lesson for the governing body in future proceedings.