The FIA has responded to the seven Formula 1 teams that slammed its handling of the investigation into the legality of last year’s Ferrari power unit.
The sport’s governing body said it acted properly in its controversial investigation, while also admitting that it was “not fully satisfied” that Ferrari had fully complied with the regulations during the operation of its power units. In saying that, however, the FIA added that it would have struggled to successfully prosecute a claim that Ferrari had broken the rules.
The team was never found to have breached the regulations in technical investigations conducted during the 2019 season, however, nor did any rival team formally lodge a protest against the outfit.
“The extensive and thorough investigations undertaken during the 2019 season raised suspicions that the Scuderia Ferrari PU could be considered as not operating within the limits of the FIA regulations at all times,” the federation said. “Scuderia Ferrari firmly opposed the suspicions and reiterated that its PU always operated in compliance with the regulations.
“The FIA was not fully satisfied but decided that further action would not necessarily result in a conclusive case due to the complexity of the matter and the material impossibility to provide the unequivocal evidence of a breach.
“To avoid the negative consequences that a long litigation would entail especially in light of the uncertainty of the outcome of such litigations and in the best interest of the Championship and of its stakeholders, the FIA, in compliance with Article 4 (ii) of its Judicial and Disciplinary Rules (JDR), decided to enter into an effective and dissuasive settlement agreement with Ferrari to terminate the proceedings.
“This type of agreement is a legal tool recognised as an essential component of any disciplinary system and is used by many public authorities and other sport federations in the handling of disputes.
“The confidentiality of the terms of the settlement agreement is provided for by Article 4 (vi) of the JDR.
“The FIA will take all necessary action to protect the sport and its role and reputation as regulator of the FIA Formula 1 World Championship.” the statement concluded.
Whether this explanation will dissuade the unhappy rival teams threatening to pursue their own legal avenues remains to be seen.
Image via Scuderia Ferrari