Lewis Hamilton sent a brutal message to the FIA last Friday, by leaving his award for finishing third in the 2023 Formula 1 standings at the end-of-season prize giving gala.
After ditching the gala in 2021 following the controversial Abu Dhabi Grand Prix that year, it was pondered by many if Hamilton would even attend the gala in Baku, Azerbaijan.
It was further questioned if he would attend after the FIA released a statement last Tuesday questioning Susie Wolff’s integrity, something the Mercedes driver was furious about.
The FIA released their statement without informing F1 or Mercedes, with the governing body having revealed that they’d be investigating whether the F1 Academy managing director had been giving “confidential” information to her husband, Toto Wolff.
Staggeringly, the statement was made based on one report and media speculation, rather than hard evidence.
Both F1 and Mercedes released statements denying the allegations and highlighting their support for Susie, someone Hamilton described at the gala as the “most incredible female leader we have ever had”.
All of the nine remaining F1 teams went onto release similar statements and stress their support for the F1 Academy managing director and insisting that no complaint was ever made to the FIA about her.
Embarrassingly, the governing body went on to release another statement, where they noted that no investigation would take place.
Regardless of this, the damage has already been done once again by the FIA, resulting in Mercedes considering taking legal action.
Hamilton has had his own run ins with the FIA over the years and wasn’t afraid of slamming them at the gala, by stressing that “certain individuals” at the FIA are trying to pull F1 back.
It’s unknown whether this was directed at FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem.
In a show of support for Susie, Hamilton left his award at the gala, which was seemingly collected and taken home by a young journalist based on social media reports.
The seven-time World Champion is livid at the FIA for their actions towards Susie, with their poor attempt at apologising having been “unacceptable”.
“It has been a challenging week, and a disappointing week,” Hamilton said at the gala, as reported by The Express.
“To see that the governing body has sought to question the integrity of one of the most incredible female leaders we have ever had in our sport in Susie Wolff without questioning and without any evidence and then just saying ‘sorry’ at the end. That is unacceptable.
“There is a constant fight to really improve diversity and inclusion within the industry. It seems there are certain individuals in the leadership of the FIA that every time we try and make a step forward they are trying to pull us back, and that has to change.”