The FIA’s public statement about a potential investigation into a conflict of interest involving Toto and Susie Wolff was too hasty and “quite embarrassing for the whole sport,” according to Ferrari team principal Fred Vasseur.

The governing body issued a statement off the back of a single report in a monthly publication, saying it was looking into the matter of “the allegation of information of a confidential nature being passed to an F1 team principal from a member of FOM personnel.” That statement led to a robust response from Mercedes, the Wolffs and later the remaining nine teams on the grid, with a further FIA statement two days later backtracking after review of FOM’s F1 Code of Conduct and F1 Conflict of Interest Policy.

“I think all this story is quite embarrassing for the whole sport,” Vasseur told select media in Maranello. “The story started with an article in a newspaper — I don’t know if a ‘newspaper’ is the right word — and I think in this situation when you are speaking about individuals, you have to be careful about what you are saying…

“I think it would have been appropriate from the FIA to … they needed 24 hours between the announcement and the second announcement, so it would have made sense to use that 24 hours before the first announcement to avoid any bad conclusions.”

At a time when a new Concorde Agreement is set to be discussed between F1, the FIA and the teams, Vasseur says he doesn’t think the current situation is overly damaging on that front, but noted how the FIA statements brought all 10 teams together in Susie Wolff’s defense.

“After the … ‘incident’ of last week … at least the teams were very united. I think it was the first conclusion for me, that we were able to act together, and it’s not very often. Even Red Bull was supportive with Toto, we have to notice it!

“Honestly, I think it’s a good point for us to take a position and discuss with all of the other stakeholders. I think it’s the first time that the teams together showed something like this. For sure we know each time that the Concorde Agreement is a crucial one, but I think that we are in a much better situation today than we were five years ago.

“Five years ago, before COVID, when we signed the current Concorde Agreement, we have to keep in mind that we had four or five teams almost in bankruptcy. Today it’s not the same situation at all. The business is much more sustainable thanks to the cost cap, thanks to the prize fund distribution, and this for F1 is the guarantee of the stability for the future.

“Now you can always discuss about technical regulations, governance, prize fund distribution, but it will be marginal. It won’t impact the sport, it won’t impact the business, it won’t impact Formula 1.

“Five years ago I think it was a completely different situation. I’m not sure without the financial regulations we would have been able to attract Audi, for example. A couple of new investors joined F1, mainly due to the Concorde Agreement and the financial regulations. It means now I think we are on the right path. We just have to work together, and to work together in serenity.”