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Red Bull boss Christian Horner denies submitting complaint to FIA over Susie and Toto Wolff as other teams follow suit

Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff and his wife Susie Wolff, F1 Academy managing director, are understood to be under investigation by the FIA: the sport's governing body is looking into "allegation of information of a confidential nature being passed" between the couple

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Christian Horner says Red Bull and AlphaTauri have 'nothing to do' with complaints made to the FIA alledging F1 Acadamy boss Susie Wolff exchanged confidential information to husband and Mercedes team principal Toto Wolff

Mercedes' Formula 1 rivals have dramatically united to deny making complaints to the FIA over the alleged exchange of confidential information between the team's boss Toto Wolff and his wife Susie Wolff, the head of F1 Academy.

The FIA, F1's governing body, announced an investigation into the pair's conduct on Tuesday, stating its compliance department was looking into the matter.

Susie Wolff, who is employed by F1's commercial rights holder Formula One Management (FOM) as the managing director of its all-female series, reporting directly to F1 chief executive Stefano Domenicali, rejected the allegations as "deeply insulting" and rooted in "misogynistic" behaviour.

The FIA has rejected any notion that the launch of its investigation has been prompted by misogyny, stating that it is following due process. Sources within the governing body have suggested to Sky Sports News that more than one F1 team principal raised a concern about the Wolffs.

Suzanne Wolff, left, managing director of F1 Academy and wife of Toto Wolff team principal & CEO of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team, talks with Christian Horner, team principal of the Red Bull Formula One team, in the paddock of the Formula One U.S. Grand Prix auto race at Circuit of the Americas, Saturday, Oct. 21, 2023, in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Nick Didlick)
Image: Horner has praised the job Wolff is doing as F1 Academy managing director

With F1 and Mercedes having rejected the allegations on Tuesday, the other nine teams spectacularly united on Wednesday evening with the coordinated release of a statement across their social media channels denying the submission of a complaint.

The statement said: "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 FOM staff.

"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."

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Horner: Red Bull were surprised by FIA statement

Speaking live on Sky Sports News earlier on Wednesday, Red Bull chief Christian Horner had said neither his team nor their junior squad AlphaTauri had submitted an official complaint, and that he had been "surprised" by the FIA statement.

"We have a big rivalry [with Mercedes] on track but we haven't raised any official complaint either about Susie or Toto or Mercedes to the FIA.

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Sky Sports Formula One reporter Craig Slater provides an update on the FIA investigation into the conduct of Toto and Suzie Wolf

"In fact, Red Bull has been the team that has got most involved with F1 Academy since its inception, to the point that between the two Red Bull-owned teams, we'll be entering three cars in 2024. So we've been working closely with Susie, who's been doing a great job on F1 Academy.

"So I think we, like others, were quite surprised by the statement that came out last night, but it certainly wasn't instigated or required or set off by Red Bull.

"We've not raised any official complaint or made any requests to the FIA or to FOM.

"As far as the other teams, I can't talk on behalf of others. This is an FIA thing, they've taken this action, but as I say, certainly nothing to do with Red Bull."

Wolff 'deeply insulted' by 'misogynistic' allegations

Discussions on the matter between the FIA and FOM are understood to have taken place on Wednesday. But while F1 is believed to have received a letter on the matter, Mercedes have not yet received correspondence on the investigation from the governing body.

In the hours after the FIA's press statement on Tuesday evening, both F1 and Mercedes released statements, with the former claiming the FIA investigation was based upon "imprudent and serious allegations without substance".

Wolff, who was the last woman to drive in an F1 practice session and was appointed managing director of F1 Academy in March 2023 ahead of the all-female series' inaugural season, then used her Instagram account to directly address the allegations.

"I am deeply insulted but sadly unsurprised by the public allegations that have been made this evening," she wrote.

"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."

Toto Wolff has become one of the most powerful figures in the sport since taking charge of Mercedes in 2013, guiding the team to eight successive constructors' titles between 2014 and 2021.

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.

"As a matter of course, we invite full, prompt, and transparent correspondence from the FIA Compliance Department regarding this investigation and its contents."

Formula 1 offered an equally robust denial of any wrongdoing having occurred, saying: "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."

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