The investigations into Ferrari’s power unit concluded last week with a ‘settlement’ between the FIA and Ferrari, but the other teams want answers..
Last week, immediately prior to the conclusion to pre-season testing, the FIA released a statement saying that they had concluded their investigations into Ferrari’s 2019 power units – this was off the back of Ferrari frequently enjoying a huge straight line speed advantage that helped them to several pole position and two victories at Spa-Francorchamps and Monza.
The FIA statement seemed to indicate that something untoward was found, but wasn’t fully provable, leading to Ferrari and the governing body agreeing on a ‘settlement’ between them.
That was never going to be enough for the other Formula 1 teams, and the seven non-Ferrari powered outfits have come together in unity to release a joint statement and are demanding answers:
“We, the undersigned teams, were surprised and shocked by the FIA’s statement of Friday 28 February regarding the conclusion of its investigation into the Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 Power Unit.
An international sporting regulator has the responsibility to act with the highest standards of governance, integrity and transparency.
After months of investigations that were undertaken by the FIA only following queries raised by other teams, we strongly object to the FIA reaching a confidential settlement agreement with Ferrari to conclude this matter.
Therefore, we hereby state publicly our shared commitment to pursue full and proper disclosure in this matter, to ensure that our sport treats all competitors fairly and equally. We do so on behalf of the fans, the participants and the stakeholders of Formula One.
In addition, we reserve our rights to seek legal redress, within the FIA’s due process and before the competent courts.
McLaren Racing Limited
Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Limited
Racing Point UK Limited
Red Bull Racing Limited
Renault Sport Racing Limited
Scuderia Alpha Tauri S.p.A.
Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited”
The biggest question mark surrounding this issue is simply whether Ferrari’s 2019 power unit was legal, with the FIA issuing several technical directives to all the teams towards the end of last season as they attempted to close down the loophole Ferrari may have found. Extra sensors on the fuel system are in place for this year, with the main suspect being that Ferrari had found a way to increase the amount of fuel into their engine by exceeding the maximum fuel flow rate without being discovered.
The problem the FIA and the teams face is proving Ferrari actually broke a rule. Suspecting it is one thing, proving it is quite another. Even by retrospectively testing the engines using the knowledge they have now, the governing body would have to prove that the team did it during a Grand Prix weekend. This is likely why the FIA and Ferrari reached a private settlement last week – the FIA simply haven’t been able to prove the fact up until now.
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