Lewis Hamilton says FIA President has “never” had his backing, calls for more transparency and accountability in F1

Photo Credit: Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team
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Yesterday, F1 Academy Managing Director Susie Wolff disclosed that she had personally filed a criminal case against the FIA in the French courts. Mercedes drivers Lewis Hamilton and George Russell believe that the FIA needs to have transparency and take accountability with regards to Wolff’s case in a such male dominated sport.

Last December, the sporting governing body declared that it was looking into an unidentified team principal following an unfounded and quickly disapproved media rumors that Susie Wolff and her husband, Toto Wolff were exchanging private information as part of their jobs. Wolff and her husband had vehemently denied the claim from the beginning.

After the claims, the FIA stated that there was no need for an investigation but Wolff was not pleased with the outcome and she wanted more answers from them. But after recent events that unfolded ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, Susie Wolff has officially filed a complaint.

This official complaint came after when FIA President Mohammed Ben Sulayem had been cleared of alleged involvement in influcing stewards decisions and trying to block the Las Vegas Grand Prix.

Seven-time world champion Lewis Hamilton has stated that he is “proud” of Susie Wolff and her action against the FIA. Hamilton has publicly defended Wolff and believes there is a serious lack of accountability and transparency within the sport.

“Things that are happening behind closed doors, there is no transparency, there is really no accountability, and we need that,” Hamilton said. “I think the fans need that. How can you trust the sport and what is happening here if you don’t have that?”

Hamilton also stated that Wolff’s decision to file a criminal complaint will create genuine “change” in Formula One.

Allegations of inappropriate behaviour from Christian Horner with a female employee at Red Bull Racing has also rocked the F1 world in recent weeks.

“Hopefully, this stand that she’s taking now will create change, will have a positive impact, and especially for women. 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.” Hamilton added.

Asked if FIA President Mohammad Ben Sulayem has his backing, Hamilton gave a straightforward response: “He never has.”

George Russell also voiced this opinion on how F1 and the FIA should take accountability of their actions and that decisions should be transparent so no doubts can be left in people’s minds.

“If things are transparent and we see the outcome of these cases, we all have a chance to judge for ourselves with all of the facts and figures in front of us,” Russell said.

“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 One, watching Formula One, wants to be involved in Formula One, that things aren’t just swept under the carpet.”