Hamilton slams FIA for 'unacceptable' Wolff investigation

Saunders: FIA under huge pressure to explain Wolff investigation (3:54)

Nate Saunders explains the scenario the FIA now finds itself in after dropping its probe into Susie and Toto Wolff. (3:54)

Seven-time Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton has suggested senior figures within the FIA are an obstacle to positive change in racing after an "unacceptable" investigation into Susie Wolff this week.

In the space of three days, the FIA opened and then closed an inquiry into F1 Academy boss Susie Wolff and her husband, Hamilton's Mercedes boss Toto, over suggestions of a conflict of interest.

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That appeared to be prompted by a report in F1 Business, which suggested at least one rival team boss had complained to the FIA about comments Toto made in a meeting which allegedly could only have come from a high-ranking F1 official.

However, in a rare display of unity, Mercedes' nine rival teams all released coordinated and identically worded statements saying they had not made any complaint.

On Thursday the FIA dropped their investigation, despite having not spoken to Susie Wolff about the allegations. The Wolffs said in separate statements on Friday they are in a "legal exchange" to find answers on where the matter originated.

Hamilton, speaking at the FIA awards gala in Baku that same day, did not name anyone specifically but said people within leadership of the governing body continually block positive steps forward.

"We've got lot of great people in the sport that are doing amazing work, there is a constant fight to really improve diversity and inclusion within the industry, but it seems there are certain individuals within the leadership of the FIA that every time we make a step forward they're trying to pull us back and that has to change.

"This is a global sport and we have a such an incredible opportunity and a natural responsibility to be leader of change, travelling to all countries around the world we have a responsibly to make sure we are pushing the right direction. I do want to acknowledge there are a lot of people doing great work but we need to make some change to make sure we are pushing in the right direction."

The FIA are facing mounting questions over their handling of the matter this week.

Privately, the FIA has said their Compliance Department would not have looked into any matter without a official complaint made by a rival or high-ranking official, but the statements from the other teams have raised questions as to what grounds the investigation was launched.

In Susie Wolff's first statement, she said the investigation had been rooted in "intimidatory and misogynistic" behaviour.

In her most recent statement, she said: "I might have been collateral damage in an unsuccessful attack on somebody else, or the target of a failed attempt to discredit me personally, but I have worked too hard to have my reputation called into question by an unfounded press release."

FIA president Mohammed Ben Sulayem is currently being treated in hospital after a fall, but will make a full recovery, and is expected to attend the gala.

Hamilton also criticised the fact the awards ceremony, which celebrates the champions across all FIA categories, is taking place in Azerbaijan.

"Whilst I really like Baku, it's really a beautiful place, questions in my mind of whether the FIA is really actually thinking about sustainability because so many people flew out here when the FIA is in Paris and it just would have been easier to stay there.

"But it's a beautiful arena, it's a night we all get to come together and celebrate all the achievements of the great people working in the sport, all the amazing drivers that I wouldn't get to see during the year."