(GMM) Toto Wolff and FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem appear to have kicked off the new year by renewing their respective hostilities.
As 2023 wound down, Mercedes boss Wolff and his wife Susie were enraged by a quickly-aborted FIA investigation into alleged conflict of interest and the exchange of confidential information.
Wolff has now told La Gazzetta dello Sport that his wife’s intentions to sue for defamation are real.
“She intends to go all the way in court,” Wolff told the Italian sports newspaper. “If someone types Susie Wolff into a search engine now, the first thing they will see is about the investigation against her.
“The bullet has been fired and it is not coming back to the gun.”
At the very same time, however, Ben Sulayem appears to believe that he is the victim of targeted attacks on his regime by certain figures inside Formula 1 – perhaps also linked to the sport’s commercial owner Liberty Media.
“I only ask for sincerity,” the FIA boss is quoted by motorsport-magazin.com. “I am not interested in the share price or ticket sales. We just need honesty.
“I know who attacks me,” Ben Sulayem added. “And they think I don’t know. Do you really think I would be in this position if I had stupid people around me?
“The paddock is very small. Everybody knows everybody. I know who is behind it and I smile at them.”
Wolff, meanwhile, does not hide that he is no fan of the Ben Sulayem regime, which he suggests lacks “integrity” and “stability”.
“It is not a good sign when experienced and good people disappear (from the FIA),” said the 52-year-old. “As a constructor, we cannot do anything about this. We can’t control how people manage their employees and set up their structures.
“But when good people suddenly leave an organization, there will be a vacuum, that’s clear. You have to wonder why so many people have left,” Wolff added.