The FIA has abruptly halted its highly scrutinized inquiry into a possible conflict of interest involving Mercedes motorsport director Toto Wolff and F1 Academy managing director Susie Wolff.
On Tuesday evening, the governing body announced that its Compliance Department was examining an allegation of sensitive information being exchanged between an F1 team principal and a member of Formula One Management.
This was triggered by a questionable media report suggesting that, during a meeting of team principals, Toto Wolff made a remark based on confidential material only accessible to FOM personnel, to which his wife Susie Wolff could potentially have greater access due to her position as head of the all-female racing series.
Mercedes, Susie Wolff and Formula 1 – who had not been informed by the FIA of its investigation – immediately denounced the allegations as well as the governing body’s inquiry.
On Wednesday, in a remarkable display of solidarity, Formula 1’s teams put out an identically worded statement in which each outfit assured that it had not filed a complaint with the FIA “regarding the allegation of information of a confidential nature being passed between an F1 team principal and a member of FOM staff”.
This directly put the FIA under heavy pressure to offer an explanation as to what had prompted its decision to launch its compliance investigation.
On Thursday evening, in a swift about-face, the FIA declared, just a day before Friday’s FIA Awards Gala, that there was no ongoing inquiry into any individual in F1 regarding a potential conflict of interest issue.
A statement read: "Following a review of Formula One Management's F1 Code of Conduct and F1 Conflict of Interest Policy and confirmation that appropriate protective measures are in place to mitigate any potential conflicts, the FIA is satisfied that FOM's compliance management system is robust enough to prevent any unauthorized disclosure of confidential information.
"The FIA can confirm that there is no ongoing investigation in terms of ethical or disciplinary inquiries involving any individual.
"As the regulator, the FIA has a duty to maintain the integrity of global motorsport. The FIA reaffirms its commitment to integrity and fairness."