Brown joins calls for transparency over Wolff while other bosses reiterate confidence in FIA

McLaren Racing CEO Zak Brown says Susie Wolff deserves greater transparency from the FIA regarding its investigation of interference in allegations of potential conflict of interest, but multiple team bosses insist they have confidence in the governing body.

Wolff has launched legal action against the FIA in French courts, following statements relating to a potential conflict of interest investigation involving the F1 Academy managing director and her husband Toto Wolff in December last year.

With the FIA’s Ethics Committee having cleared Mohammed Ben Sulayem of any wrongdoing relating to interference allegations, and a grievance against Red Bull team principal Christian Horner dismissed — both following independent investigations initiated by their parent companies — Brown says calls for transparency have a different meaning depending on each topic.


“The different situations are all different, so I don’t think there’s kind of a one-size-fits-all,” Brown said. “I think we just need to have confidence that the FIA, there’s various statutes as far as how we conduct ourselves, that they’re looking to matters when there’s a whistleblower situation or someone brings forward an issue.

“There are certain things that we can be aware of and not aware of from a confidentiality standpoint, but are things being looked into? Are all sides being heard equally? And then when conclusions are brought forward, what was the process and the conclusion?

“I don’t think, given confidentiality, and these various natures, that we’re necessarily entitled to know all the details. I just think we need to have the confidence that when someone brings forward an issue that we know it’s been looked into independently, [that] all parties have been heard. And I think we should all welcome that. So if someone’s involved in a situation, they should welcome transparency and welcome the FIA looking into the situation from all parties.

“In Susie’s case, she’s one of the most respected people in motorsport and from the limited information I have think, that isn’t quite aware of what she was being looked into and then why she wasn’t being looked into. So I think really the transparency is as much for her.

“And then, we have had conclusion on the FIA race-related issues. I think we have a general sense of what the issue was, and they said there wasn’t an issue. Then in the other instance [involving Red Bull] we’ve kind of heard from one side. It looks like the other side is appealing, and just to have confidence that she’s been heard and that the FIA’s looked into it and is happy with the conclusion.”

Brown stated a summary report being provided would be helpful to understand certain matters, with Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur adding that it’s tough for many to comment given their limited knowledge of the situations involved.

“I don’t think that we have another option than to be confident,” Vasseur said. “We don’t know who is a whistleblower. We don’t know what was the cause of the whistleblower. And don’t ask us to have an opinion at the end. Either we have an opinion on the global system or not, but on this case, it’s quite impossible for us. I’m probably too naive, but we have to be confident with the system.”

With Stake Sauber team representative Alessandro Alunni Bravi saying “we have full confidence in the FIA and all the processes that are in place,” Peter Bayer — who was the FIA’s secretary general before joining RB as CEO last year — explained some of the structure within the governing body.

“We have to have confidence in the organization,” Bayer said. “It’s the same when we have a steward’s decision or others sometimes. We might not like the decisions, but ultimately, we have to be happy with the process.

“From my time at the FIA, it is an independent body, which is led by the Ethics Committee President, Francois Bellanger, and they have their independent findings. And as the president himself was concerned, they were the ones who had to ultimately deal with the matter. So again, I think we need to have confidence. And they came out with a statement.

“I guess another question we have to ask ourselves is, what is actually the remit of the FIA? They are the regulator and legislator of motorsport. So some questions we might want them to answer, probably they cannot answer, while others, clearly, they have to answer. So the ones they have to answer, like a president potentially interfering into a stewards’ decision, that is very, very important for us to have confidence and to trust them. And yes, we do.”

Story originally appeared on Racer