Twenty-four hours ago, seven out of the ten teams in Formula 1 published statements asking for more transparency over last week’s FIA announcement: the Federation declared the end of the investigations on Ferrari’s 2019 power unit after a non-specified agreement with the Scuderia.
Last year indeed many teams –Mercedes and Red Bull in particular- asked the FIA to check the regularity of the Maranello’s engine, suspected of gaining performance by stepping ‘over the regulation’s line’. After almost six months the investigation is now over, but competitors were unhappy about the clarifications labelled as ‘not transparent enough’. Moreover, everything was made public just 10 minutes to the end of pre-season testing, making it impossible to ask questions to both the FIA and Ferrari at least before the Australian GP.
Therefore, Racing Point, Renault, Alpha Tauri, Williams and McLaren joined the two title contender teams in the protests and simultaneously posted statements asking for clarifications.
Today the FIA explained the situation by saying that such a ‘secret’ agreement is perfectly legal: “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 –insisted the statement- 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.”
A reply that could raise more doubts than the ones that shuts, but everything was handled within the rules and in the interests of the sport: “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 One World Championship.”
Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 Team Statement https://t.co/FnV4UXq0AH— Mercedes-AMG F1 (@MercedesAMGF1) March 4, 2020