Ferrari rivals ‘surprised and shocked’ by team’s engine ‘settlement’ with FIA
Seven Formula 1 teams have released a joint statement expressing their shock and surprise by the statement released by the FIA on Friday as pre-season testing came to a close, saying they had reached a “settlement" with Ferrari following an analysis into the Italian team’s 2019-spec power unit.
F1’s governing body the FIA have spent several months analysing Ferrari’s power unit, which had emerged as the class of the field in 2019, giving Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc a big advantage – sometimes as much as 0.5s on the straights.
Rivals had theories about how they were gaining that advantage, but Ferrari denied any wrongdoing. A series of technical directives – documents which move to clarify the rules should there be any ambiguity - were issued and a new double fuel flow sensor rule put in place. Following the conclusion of the analysis, the FIA said they had reached a “settlement” with Ferrari and that the “specifics of the agreement will remain between the parties”.
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
This has frustrated seven of their rival teams (McLaren, Mercedes, Racing Point, Red Bull, Renault, AlphaTauri and Williams) who want answers. The septet, which did not include Ferrari engine customers Haas and Alfa Romeo, released a joint statement on Wednesday morning.
“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,” it read.
“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.”
What happens now?
Lawrence Barretto [Senior writer, F1.com] says…
There was widespread dismay in the Barcelona paddock on Friday afternoon when a bombshell press release from the FIA dropped just minutes before pre-season testing came to a close.
This obviously wound Ferrari’s rivals up a treat. They were very unhappy with the statement and felt it was an unsatisfactory conclusion. So all Ferrari’s competitors, bar their engine customers Haas and Alfa Romeo, discussed the next steps and released this morning’s statement as a collective.
It had been hoped that the “settlement” would draw a line under the saga and allow F1 to move on, but it has had the opposite effect. The seven teams want answers – as they feel the sport and its fans, as well as the teams, deserve transparency – and they are willing to push for it.
We now await the FIA’s response. As the seven teams suggested in the statement, it is possible they could “seek legal redress”, meaning this issue could yet be dragged through the courts.
There is an FIA process in place where these matters can be dealt with, culminating with the International Court of Appeal, which is an independent body, and the final appeal tribunal for international motorsport. The intention, though, would be to get answers before having to go down this road.