Seven rival Formula 1 teams have issued a joint statement attacking the FIA’s investigation and subsequent handling of the Ferrari engine saga that dogged the end of the 2019 season.
Ferrari was at the centre of allegations that it had circumvented the fuel flow sensor restrictions in order to obtain a competitive advantage over its rivals. A technical directive issued during the United States Grand Prix that banned the use of sonic technology (rumoured to be the trick Ferrari was using to trick the fuel flow sensors) was followed by a marked loss of competitiveness for the Italian team.
The team was never found to have breached the regulations, however, nor did any rival team formally lodge a protest against the outfit.
At the end of the season, the FIA launched its own investigation into the Ferrari 064 power unit and on Friday it announced it had reached a confidential agreement with the team.
“The FIA announces that, after thorough technical investigations, it has concluded its analysis of the operation of the Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 Power Unit and reached a settlement with the team,” said the statement.
“The specifics of the agreement will remain between the parties.”
It added: “The FIA and Scuderia Ferrari have agreed to a number of technical commitments that will improve the monitoring of all Formula 1 Power Units for forthcoming championship seasons as well as assist the FIA in other regulatory duties in Formula 1 and in its research activities on carbon emissions and sustainable fuels.”
The FIA’s statement was more fascinating with what it didn’t say – there was no mention whether the Ferrari 064 power unit was compliant with the technical regulations.
The fact that some kind of settlement was agreed which included an agreement by Ferrari to help with the monitoring of power units moving forward would suggest that the power unit bent (but perhaps didn’t break) the rules, which were written in a way that the FIA could not have successfully prosecuted.
That was not good enough for the non-Ferrari-powered teams, who jointly issued a media release stating they 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.”
They continued: “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.”
The statement was signed by 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 and Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited.
Image via Scuderia Ferrari