Lewis Hamilton scolds FIA at F1 awards ceremony as he suggests Baku do was unnecessary and sticks up for Susie Wolff

6 months ago 44

LEWIS HAMILTON has blasted the FIA’s handling of their bungled conflict-of-interest investigation into Mercedes boss Toto Wolff and his wife, Susie.

On Thursday evening the FIA confirmed they were dropping the case after just TWO DAYS following an article citing that rival F1 teams were upset that the latter was working as managing director of F1 Academy.

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Lewis Hamilton is in Baku for the FIA’s annual gala[/caption]
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Toto Wolff and Susie Wolff have both responded to bogus conflict-of-interest claims[/caption]

It followed a display of unity from F1 teams, who released statements saying they had no issue with either’s positions.

Speaking at the FIA prize giving gala in Baku, Hamilton delivered a stinging attack on F1’s governing body, accusing them of “trying to pull us back” when they make progress.

He said: “It has been a challenging week – a disappointing week really.

“To see the governing body of our sport has seeked to question the integrity of one of the most incredible female leaders we’ve ever had in our sport, with Susie Wolff, without questioning, without any evidence. Then just saying sorry at the end, that’s just unacceptable.

“We’ve got a lot of great people in the sport that are doing amazing work, there is a constant fight to really improve diversity and inclusion within the industry.

“But it seems there are certain individuals within the leadership of the FIA that every time we make a step forward they’re trying to pull us back and that has to change.

“This is a global sport and we have such an incredible opportunity and a natural responsibility to be a leader of change, travelling to all countries around the world we have a responsibility to make sure we are pushing the right direction.

“I do want to acknowledge there are a lot of people doing great work but we need to make some changes to make sure we are pushing in the right direction.”

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It comes as Wolff, who is team principal, CEO and co-owner of the Mercedes F1 team said he was seeking a legal explanation from the FIA over the matter.

He issued a statement saying: “We are currently in active legal exchange with the FIA. We await full transparency about what took place and why, and have expressly reserved all legal rights.”

His statement came after his wife, a former racing driver and Formula E team boss herself, had posted on social media responding to the FIA’s short statement that they had ceased their investigation.

She wrote: “When I saw the statement issued by the FIA, my first reaction was: ‘Is that it?’.

“For two days, insinuations have been made about my integrity in public and through background briefings, but nobody from the FIA has spoken to me directly.

“I might have been collateral damage in an unsuccessful attack on somebody else, or the target of a failed attempt to discredit me personally, but I have worked too hard to have my reputation called into question by an unfounded press release.

“I will not allow myself to be intimidated and intend to follow up until I have found out who has instigated this campaign and misled the media.

“What happened this week is simply not good enough. As a sport, we must demand, and we deserve, better.”

Meanwhile, Hamilton also took aim at the FIA for holding their annual event in Baku, Azerbaijan – a five and a half hour flight from London.

He added: “Whilst I really like Baku, it’s really a beautiful place, questions in my mind of whether the FIA is really actually thinking about sustainability because so many people flew out here.

“The FIA is based in Paris and it just would have been easier to stay there.”

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F1’s most high-profile figures including Christian Horner and Max Verstappen have travelled to Baku[/caption]
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