Hamilton backs Wolff legal action due to lack of accountability, transparency at FIA

Lewis Hamilton says there is no transparency or accountability at the FIA and hopes Susie Wolff’s legal action against the governing body will lead to change.

Wolff has filed a criminal complaint in French courts after statements made by the FIA in December that she claims called her integrity into question, relating to a potential conflict of interest investigation including the F1 Academy managing director and her husband Toto. Hamilton suggests recent developments involving FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem and Red Bull team principal Christian Horner — who were both cleared after internal investigations — shows there needs to be external influence on certain matters.

“Firstly, I’m incredibly proud of Susie,” Hamilton said. “I think she is so brave, and she stands for such great values. She’s such a leader, and in a world where often people are silenced, for her to be standing up sends such a great message.


“I love that she’s taken it out of this world, fighting it from the outside, because there is a real lack of accountability here, within this sport, within the FIA — things that are happening behind closed doors, there is no transparency, there is really no accountability, and we need that. I think the fans need that. How can you trust the sport and what is happening here if you don’t have that?”

The FIA’s Ethics Committee announced on Wednesday night that it had cleared Ben Sulayem of any wrongdoing after allegations from a whistleblower regarding potential interference into F1 events, while at Red Bull the complainant against Horner has taken the matter to the governing body, having been suspended on full pay earlier this month.

“Hopefully this stand that [Wolff’s] taking now will create change, will have a positive impact, and especially for women,” Hamilton said. “It is still a male-dominated sport, and we’re living in a time where the message is if you file a complaint, you will be fired, and that is a terrible narrative to be projecting to the world, especially when we’re talking about inclusivity here in the sport. We need to make sure we stay true to the core values.”

When he and Mercedes teammate George Russell were asked if they are confident that Ben Sulayem is the right man to lead the FIA and has their backing, Hamilton said off-microphone: “He never has.”

For his part, Russell called for an explanation of the facts around recent investigations, admitting it’s tough to not be skeptical when attempts are made to keep them private.

“I think as drivers, we have a role within the teams, and you trust that the leaders in this sport have the best interests at their heart rather than their own interests,” Russell said. “I think it goes back to the transparency side of things. If things are transparent and we see the outcome of these cases, we all have a chance to judge for ourself with all of the facts and figures in front of us. But when we don’t have the facts and figures, and there is no transparency, you always think there’s something being hidden.

“That’s why I think it’s so important for the sport now, as Lewis said, to send the right message to everybody who is supporting Formula 1, watching Formula 1, wants to be involved in Formula 1, that things aren’t just swept under the carpet.”

Story originally appeared on Racer