RACE DEBRIEF

    The FIA has issued a response in the wake of a group statement made by seven Formula 1 teams, following last week’s announcement that the governing body had reached a settlement with Ferrari in regards to an investigation into the team’s engine carried out last year.

    On Wednesday, all seven non-Ferrari powered teams – namely McLaren, Mercedes, Racing Point, Red Bull, Renault, AlphaTauri and Williams – issued a joint communication revealing that they were “surprised and shocked” by the outcome of the FIA’s Ferrari investigation, which the FIA chose to not make public.

    READ MORE: Ferrari rivals ‘surprised and shocked’ by team’s engine ‘settlement’ with FIA

    Reacting to the teams’ communique, a statement released today from the FIA explained the process by which the governing body had reached its decision.

    “The FIA has conducted detailed technical analysis on the Scuderia Ferrari Power Unit as it is entitled to do for any competitor in the FIA Formula One World Championship.

    “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 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.”

    Formula One World Championship
    Will this FIA statement be the end of the matter?

    What happens now?

    Lawrence Barretto [Senior writer, F1.com] says…

    It’s no surprise the FIA have responded robustly to the statement made by seven teams regarding the “settlement” the governing body made with Ferrari and stringently defended their approach to the analysis they conducted on the Italian team’s engine and their decision to keep the agreement confidential.

    However, their explanation is unlikely to placate the seven teams as not only have the FIA admitted they were unable to prove whether Ferrari’s engine was legal or not, the governing body’s admission they couldn’t reach a conclusion will also raise doubts about how they will police the sport going forward.

    The seven will also be unhappy the FIA have reiterated that the agreement between them and Ferrari will remain confidential – as they want transparency. We now await the seven teams’ collective response, but there is little in this statement to suggest they will back off. Expect the subject to be a huge talking point when the F1 fraternity arrives in the Melbourne paddock next week, ahead of the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

    READ MORE: FIA reaches ‘settlement’ with Ferrari following 2019 engine investigation