Racing Point say they discovered Renault was running an illegal brake bias management system after they asked the FIA if they could run a similar device.
Racing Point team principal Otmar Szafnauer told Sky his team discovered Renault’s system while researching how they could improve their own brake bias controller. “It really came about at Silverstone where we had a problem with our own brake bias system,” he said.
“The system failed. We had a mechanical failure on the switch. It was after a Safety Car: Sergio went completely forward on brake bias to keep his front tyres warm, then couldn’t go back because the switch failed. Then he ended up running into [Nico] Hulkenberg.
“So we started looking at what we can do to make that more robust. And then we noticed that Renault especially had an automatic system which we wanted to do, really.
“We didn’t want to protest Renault, we just wanted to do the same. So we wrote to the FIA and they categorically said that we can’t do that. So we were hoping that through the protest the FIA would say ‘yes, you too can do it’. But it didn’t work out that way.”
Renault has confirmed it will not appeal the stewards’ decision from Japan. However it continues to insist the system itself was legal.
In response to footage showing the automatic brake bias system in operation, the team said: “this video shows a legal system, known by and now confirmed by the FIA to be compliant with the technical regulations. As we had nothing to hide regarding this innovative system, we hid nothing.”
However the stewards ruled the device functioned as an illegal driver aid.
“There’s a line of what is driver aid and what isn’t,” said Szafnauer. “With having to change brake bias manually… sometimes it’s easy to do but sometimes if you’ve got three or four things to do before a corner you may not get to that bit. And then having it happen automatically definitely helps the driver.”
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