With cardboard masks in XXL format, Formula 1 fans welcome stars such as record world champion Lewis Hamilton at the paddock in Melbourne. The enthusiasm surrounding the premier motorsport class is, as usual, huge before the Grand Prix in Australia.

But Formula 1 can’t shake off its scandals even on the other side of the world – and it’s not even just about the Christian Horner affair.

The focus here is on the world motorsport association FIA around the controversial President Mohammed Ben Sulayem. The former rally driver had just been acquitted of allegations by the FIA ​​Ethics Committee in the affair surrounding the alleged influence on a Formula 1 race. Then the head of the female Formula 1 junior series, Susie Wolff, announced the next highly explosive turn of events after the fuss surrounding investigations into alleged betrayal of secrets.

Susie Wolff calls for transparency and accountability

The wife of Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff is taking legal action against the FIA. According to her own statements, the Scot filed a criminal complaint with the French courts on March 4th because of the FIA’s statements about her from last December.

“There is still no transparency or accountability regarding the conduct of the FIA ​​and employees in this matter,” the 41-year-old wrote. “I think it’s more important than ever to stand up, denounce inappropriate behavior and ensure that people are held accountable.”

The accusation: betrayal of secrets

What had happened? At the beginning of December last year, the FIA ​​examined media reports alleging that confidential information had been leaked to a Formula 1 team boss by an employee of the Formula 1 rights holder.

The background was a report by a specialist portal about an alleged conflict of interest between Toto Wolff and his wife, about which other Formula 1 officials had allegedly complained to FIA President Ben Sulayem.

Intimidation and misogyny as motives?

Accordingly, Susie Wolff, who is employed as managing director of the Formula 1 Academy by the Formula 1 marketer FOM, is said to have access to confidential knowledge from the top of the racing series and allegedly shared this with her husband. In return, Toto Wolff may have informed his wife about conversations between the team bosses, so that this information in turn reached the rights holder.

Former racing driver Susie Wolff, married to Toto Wolff since 2011, suspected that attempted intimidation and misogyny were the motives behind the allegations.

Hamilton supports Susie Wolff

“In a world where people are often silenced, it’s a great message that she stands up,” she encouraged Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton. At the same time, he accused Formula 1 and the FIA ​​of “a real lack of accountability” and transparency. “We live in a time where the message is: If you file a complaint, you will be fired. That is a terrible image that we are sending to the world,” the seven-time world champion continued.

Just two days after the investigation into the Wolff case was published, the FIA ​​closed it down again. The world association said that the compliance system was robust enough “to prevent unauthorized disclosure of confidential information.”

Ben Sulayem’s troubled relationship with the Formula 1 leadership

However, the chief regulator, Ben Sulayem, himself became the focus of an investigation. But the allegations that the top official had improperly intervened in the testing process for the new racetrack in Las Vegas were also dismissed as unfounded after a 30-day investigation. The investigation was triggered by information from informants who had accused Ben Sulayem of several violations in office.

The official from Dubai has a disturbed relationship with the Formula 1 management due to his solo efforts. He pushed for the inclusion of other teams such as the US Andretti project, which the established racing teams firmly rejected. Because Ben Sulayem also publicly doubted the high market value of the racing series, Formula 1 lawyers criticized him for not being part of his duties.

Is there also a cardboard mask from the chief regulator?

Things are simmering in the premier motorsport class. Finally, there is the scandal surrounding Max Verstappen’s Red Bull team boss Christian Horner, who was accused of inappropriate behavior towards an employee.

After an investigation by an attorney, the complaint was dismissed. However, anonymous emails with files were then sent to the other team bosses and Formula 1 journalists, the juicy content of which put Horner under pressure again. The woman is said to have now lodged a complaint with the ethics committee of the world motorsport association. A cardboard mask of Ben Sulayem could not be seen at the gates of the Albert Park Circuit in Melbourne.