Red Bull team principal Christian Horner has quashed rumours that the Austrians complained to the FIA about Susie and Toto Wolff, amid social media speculation that the Mercedes boss has been receiving “confidential” information from his wife, who is F1 Academy’s managing director.
The FIA released a statement on Tuesday stressing that they were aware of “media speculation” about a team principal receiving information from a “FOM personnel”, with it effectively being directed at Toto and Susie.
One media publication reported that some team principals had complained about the Mercedes team principal gaining secret info from Susie, resulting in the FIA stating that they will investigate the matter.
“The FIA is aware of media speculation centred on the allegation of information of a confidential nature being passed to an F1 team principal from a member of FOM personnel,” the FIA stated.
“The FIA Compliance Department is looking in to the matter.”
The governing body’s statement was made without informing F1 or Mercedes beforehand, with both companies having immedietly posted statements defending Susie.
Social media quickly pointed the finger at Horner as the person who complained to the FIA, something he has categorically denied.
Horner admitted that Red Bull were “quite surprised” by the FIA’s sudden statement, which effectively questioned the F1 Academy managing director’s integrity.
“Look, we have a big rivalry on track but we haven’t raised any official complaint, either about Susie or Toto or Mercedes to the FIA,” Horner said on Sky Sports News.
“In fact, Red Bull is the team that has got most involved with Formula One Academy from its inception to the point that between the two Red Bull-owned teams we’ll be entering three cars.
“So we’ve been working closely with Susie, who’s been doing a great job on Formula One Academy. So I think we like others were quite surprised at the statement that came out last night but it certainly wasn’t instigated or required or set off by Red Bull.”
Since Horner’s appearance on Sky News, every single team has released a statement insisting that they didn’t make any complaint to the FIA, leaving the governing body more than red-faced.
Susie also released a lengthy statement where she shared her disappointed at the FIA’s statement but admitted that she was “unsurprised”.
It’s not the first time she’s faced challenges in her career, with her stressing that this won’t stop her from “breaking down barriers” for woman in motorsport.
She also insisted that she rejects the allegations “in the strongest possible terms”.