Mercedes’ rivals deny complaining to FIA over exchange of confidential information

Formula 1

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All nine of Mercedes’ rival Formula 1 teams have denied making a complaint to the FIA, after it announced it was conducting an investigation over an alleged exchange of confidential information.

The FIA revealed the investigation was ongoing 24 hours ago. Mercedes subsequently issued a statement complaining its team principal, Toto Wolff, had been linked to the allegations in an off-record briefing. Media reports elsewhere, citing an unbylined article in another publication, linked Wolff to the information leak through his wife Susie, who is the managing director of F1 Academy.

FOM and Susie Wolff also issued statements attacking the claims yesterday, the latter accusing those behind the reports of “intimidatory and misogynistic behaviour”.

On Wednesday all nine of the other F1 teams – Red Bull, Ferrari, McLaren, Aston Martin, Alpine, Williams, AlphaTauri, Alfa Romeo and Haas – issued similarly-worded statements denying they had complained to the FIA over the matter. They also voiced support for F1 Academy, a Formula 4 championship exclusively for female drivers and tied to F1, and Susie Wolff.

“We can confirm that we have not made any complaint to the FIA regarding the allegation of information of a confidential nature being passed between an F1 team principal and a member of Formula One Management staff,” read the teams’ statements, which were published within a short period of time on social media on Wednesday evening.

“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.”

The FIA did not name the persons accused of disclosing or revealing the confidential, nor indicate the investigation had been opened as a result of a complaint from a team. The investigation is being handled by its Compliance division, which is headed by Paolo Basarri.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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21 comments on “Mercedes’ rivals deny complaining to FIA over exchange of confidential information”

  1. Looks like another great big crazy handful of nuthin’ for clumsy FIA incompetents. Rarely do all teams stand united, in writing. So in that sense, the FIA is a real force for uniting!

    1. Well, MBS is fairly crazy himself. The fact that those are his initials and many people refer to him as that cracks me up.

  2. It’s entirely possible that they’re all telling the truth. The FIA said it was investigating “a report” a Formula 1 team principal received confidential information from a member of Formula One Management: it didn’t say who the report came from.

    If a team principal had moaned ‘off the record’ to a contact at the FIA or the Academy – “and how is it Toto’s so well-informed these days?” – they could have decided to log a report themselves.

    Similarly, they could have vented to a friend or former colleague, who passes it on to their colleague, and so on.

    That could have come about either innocently or deliberately. Either way, it lets them issue today’s statements while remaining technically correct.

  3. It starts to feel more like a personal vendetta than anything else. The timing is odd as well, why investigate this now – after all is said and done.

  4. i just want to know what the secret secrets are! Very awesome, obviously, exciting and dramatic, and massively important, as after all they are… FIA secrets!

  5. There is only one obvious suspect…Ginger Spice.

    1. The poisoned dwarf strikes again!

      1. Constantijn Blondel
        7th December 2023, 8:18

        The plot, like a good, spicy ginger sauce, thickens … ;)

  6. Since when have all the teams issued denials in unison the day after a story like this? Is this a new thing?

    I can’t help but feel they’re created more work for themselves going forward. These stories happen all the time in the paddock, if one team fails to deny something people will assume it was them.

    They’re all going to have to hire someone to tell people all the stuff they’re not doing.

    1. They’re all going to have to hire someone to tell people all the stuff they’re not doing.

      I’m sorry, but Hans Christian is already busy denying all the things RBR are doing :)

  7. “His contract is with XYZ corporation. He’s not an employee, he’s not on the payroll of our team.”
    So, if he made a complaint to the FIA, it cannot count as the team having made the complaint, right?

  8. This is all good fun, for those who like soap operas and girlish gossips. I don’t even bother to understand what is going on… Sounds like a scandal that would be disturbing, if I were under any illusion that this sport is clean, fair and civilized. I expect that there’s so much more going on in all directions, like it always was.
    Wake me up in March please.

    1. Constantijn Blondel
      7th December 2023, 13:51

      #CupOfWaterGate ? :)

  9. Ben S causing problems all round yet again, Liberty are talking about a breakaway series because of Ben boy and his constant controversy, imagine opening an investigation because of an online rag? Pathetic. Controversy after Controversy after Controversy with that guy wants to run F1 like his Arab mates run their corrupt countries. What next head scarfs all round?

  10. Why does it matter who made the complaint? Either confidential information was leaked or it wasn’t. The one making the complaint is not the guilty party and it may have even been an anonymous tip.

    1. Why does it matter who made the complaint?

      It matters because the teams need to be unified. They are, after all, tasked with coming up with a response to the FIA approving the Andretti F1 team for 2025. And they want money. A lot of it. Oh, and they’re definitely not involved an anti-competitive collusion. Definitely not.

      The fact that they’re all responding to an issue that doesn’t involve them at all is quite telling. They seem to think it’s part of a bigger play. Maybe they’re right, maybe they’re just a little paranoid. They’ve gotten a bit too used to being left alone by the FIA.

    2. Dane, because it contradicts the claims that were made by the magazine that published the story, only adding to the suspicion that the story is entirely false (which, given the Business F1 magazine has repeatedly lost libel cases where it couldn’t provide a single piece of evidence for their claims, suggests that this is yet another article that they made up).

  11. It’s an investigation, if they have nothing to hide they should co-operate with the investigation. They strong denial and combativeness makes mercedes look really guilty.

  12. Classic power struggle distraction stuff, so what’s really happening? Pick your poison:

    – The FIA want Andretti and fewer races.
    – FOM/Liberty want more races and no more teams.

    Pick wisely.

  13. Note that while all of them have denied making a report, none of them have declared they believe the issue to be baseless.

    The way I read it is that it is not so much a declaration of ‘we don’t think it’s true’ as a declaration that ‘we didn’t snitch’ .

  14. Toto Wolff to FIA, umm can you guys clear me. Sure, okay mmm, lets do a press release.

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