The F1 Driver Academy managing director, who is wife of Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff, found herself at the centre of a media storm in December after the FIA announced it was looking into a potential conflict of interest between them.

This followed a media report suggesting that confidential information had been shared between the pair, and that teams had complained to the FIA. Both these counts were subsequently strongly denied.

The matter emerged in public after the FIA issued a statement saying that: “The FIA is aware of media speculation centred on the allegation of information of a confidential nature being passed to an F1 team principal from a member of FOM personnel. The FIA Compliance Department is looking into the matter."

While the Wolffs were not named in the statement, it was obvious who the governing body was referring to, and their identify was also briefed to media.

But, in the wake of a huge backlash over the matter, which included all nine of Mercedes’ rivals stating they had not complained to the FIA, the governing body quickly backed down.

Just 48 hours after its initial statement, it said the matter was closed as there was no case to answer – and that things did not even warrant a formal investigation.

Toto Wolff and Susie Wolff at Abu Dhabi GP 2022

That climbdown was not enough for Susie Wolff, in particular, who felt that there had already been huge reputational damage done by the FIA in electing to go public in stating that it was even assessing the matter.

Writing on social media at the time, 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.”

There has also been intrigue about the source of the original media report that triggered the FIA’s action in the first place, and whether it had come from within the governing body itself.

With no public apology from the FIA over its handling of what took place, Susie Wolff has taken the next step in going to the French courts in a bid to get to the bottom of the aspersions that were cast.

In a social media post issued ahead of the Australian Grand Prix, she said: “I can confirm that I have personally filed a criminal complaint in the French courts on the 4 March in relation to the statements made about me by the FIA last December.

“There has still not been any transparency or accountability in relation to the conduct of the FIA and its personnel in this matter.

“I feel more than ever it is important to stand up, call out improper behaviour and make sure people are held to account.

“Whilst some may think silence absolves them from responsibility - it does not.”

Fresh intrigue over the FIA’s handling of last December’s events was thrown up earlier this week when the governing body announced that in such circumstances, it was policy to keep matters behind closed doors.

Amid the FIA’s Ethics Committee and Compliance Officer looking into a spate of recent complaints, including a couple surrounding president Mohammed Ben Sulayem that he has been cleared over, it stated that it was policy to not reveal details in public.

In relation to the recent events, it said: “At the FIA, enquiries and complaints are received and managed by the Compliance Officer, and the Ethics Committee where appropriate.

“Both bodies operate autonomously, guaranteeing strict confidentiality throughout the process.

“As a consequence, and in general, we are unable to confirm the receipt of any specific complaint and it is unlikely that we will be able to provide further comment on the complaints that we may receive from any parties.”

This stance will prompt fresh questions about the approach it took with its handling of the Wolff matter.