Rival teams threaten legal action over Ferrari-FIA engine settlement

3:42 PM ISTLaurence EdmondsonF1 Editor Close• Joined ESPN in 2009 • An FIA accredited F1 journalist since 2011Seven of Formula One's 10 teams have questioned the FIA's integrity and transparency after the sport's governing body struck a confidential agreement with Ferrari following an investigation into the Italian team's engine.The joint statement added that the teams would work…

3:42 PM IST

  • Laurence EdmondsonF1 Editor

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      • Joined ESPN in 2009


      • An FIA accredited F1 journalist since 2011

Seven of Formula One’s 10 teams have questioned the FIA’s integrity and transparency after the sport’s governing body struck a confidential agreement with Ferrari following an investigation into the Italian team’s engine.

The joint statement added that the teams would work together to “pursue full and proper disclosure,” including the right to take legal action.

The teams were responding to an FIA statement last Friday, which said an investigation of Ferrari’s power unit had led to a settlement with the Italian team but that details of the agreement would remain between the governing body and Ferrari.

In response, the seven teams not using Ferrari engines (Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Renault, Alpha Tauri, Racing Point and Williams) called on the FIA to release more information about the settlement in the interests of transparency.

“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 One Power Unit,” the statement 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.”

Last year, rival teams held suspicions over the way Ferrari operated its power unit, believing the Italian team had found a way to circumvent strict fuel consumption regulations to boost engine power. But with all teams guarding the workings of their power units with complete secrecy, the suspicions were largely based on speed traces gathered by GPS data.

Toward the end of the season, Red Bull posed questions to the FIA over the legality of potential systems it believed could be used to circumvent the fuel regulations, which were met with technical directives — essentially amendments to the regulations — that confirmed such systems would be illegal.

In-season investigations into Ferrari’s fuel system followed, but did not uncover any wrongdoing. However, in an attempt to quell the suspicions ahead of the 2020 season, the FIA introduced a requirement for teams to fit a second fuel flow meter to police the 100kg-per-hour limit in the regulations.

Ferrari has always claimed its power unit is entirely legal. At the end of last year, speaking long before the announcement of Ferrari’s settlement with the FIA, team principal Mattia Binotto said his team had been one of the “most-checked” on the grid and that it had proved to the FIA that its power unit was legal.

“The number of checks on our cars have multiplied, the results have been shown to the FIA and the details have been discussed. So whatever could have been done through collaboration with the FIA has been done,” he said.

“We have never changed our way of operating the engine for the last part of the season, showing that our power unit is fully legal. Had that not been the case, if there would have been any non-legality, it would have come out at the very first check.”

Ferrari CEO Louis Camilleri also countered questions about the Ferrari’s legality by saying that Ferrari, as a listed company, needed to be in compliance with all regulations.

“Ferrari is a public company and it’s known worldwide — integrity and compliance is key,” he said. “I think people need to factor that in when they try to look at these allegations which have grown as the months evolved, stronger and stronger.”

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