The FIA has announced it has completed an investigation of Ferrari’s power unit but will not reveal the details of its findings.
“The FIA and Scuderia Ferrari have agreed to a number of technical commitments that will improve the monitoring of all Formula 1 power units for forthcoming championship seasons as well as assist the FIA in other regulatory duties in Formula 1 and in its research activities on carbon emissions and sustainable fuels.”
The FIA has studied the Ferrari power unit closely in recent seasons. Additional monitoring equipment was added to the team’s power unit during 2018.
Late last season Ferrari denied altering its power unit in response to a new technical directive issued by the FIA aimed at controlling the fuel flow rate. At the final race of the year the team was fined for issuing an incorrect declaration for the quantity of fuel in Charles Leclerc’s car.
The technical regulations have been revised again for 2020, requiring teams to add second fuel flow sensors to their power units.
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2020 F1 season
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109 comments on “FIA reaches agreement with Ferrari after power unit investigation”
28th February 2020, 16:58
So they were cheating then, plus the last bit suggests a deliberate fuel/oil mix burning. At least the extra fuel flow meter and oil regulations this year will stop any PU manufacturer from doing similar.
28th February 2020, 17:13
I thought the last bit referred to rumours of how they were “caching” fuel after the first (original) meter in lean periods to allow for added fuel burn when needed.
28th February 2020, 18:33
That’s the thing the second one is supposed to show up.
28th February 2020, 18:40
I’m not sure if it is cheating. Let’s say that we didn’t saw the DAS in the Mercedes. But the FIA know what are they doing, and consider it legal for the moment. Enter 2021 and Mercedes signs an agreement to not use some sort of trick suspension system. It was cheating even if the FIA knew fully well about it? Or it was clever in their interpretation, and now they keep it to themselves with the promise of not using it?
28th February 2020, 19:05
They were cheating, not sure a caveat needs to be added
28th February 2020, 23:08
Fooling a sensor is cheating.
No innovative technology, just an ordinary cheat.
28th February 2020, 23:49
So you actually KNOW what they did, and redbull and mercedes with their army of engineers couldn’t get it? Man your a wasted talent!
29th February 2020, 1:27
It was Red Bull who realised what Ferrari were doing and requested the technical clarification.
The result is that the FIA and have agreed a ‘settlement’ (a fine), and agreed ‘a number of technical commitments’ (to stop cheating.)
Pretty dam obvious to anyone with a brain Ferrari were strait up cheating last session. The FIA are keeping things secret to protect Ferrari’s reputation.
29th February 2020, 12:57
Everyone Knows what they did. Only blind fans choose to miss the obvious.
He is the one
29th February 2020, 13:20
4th March 2020, 13:31
Actually Red Bull requested multiple technical clarifications, so they expected a system that somehow (temporarily) defeated the fuel-flow sensor, but could not proof it or be sure how they where doing it.
The FIA is obviously covering something up with this secret agreement. Either they knew what Ferrari was doing and (wrongly) allowed it or they didn’t know and are protecting Ferrari for a different reason.
As a fan I find it extremely annoying that the FIA is covering up what happend and I completely agree with the other teams that: “An international sporting regulator has the responsibility to act with the highest standards of governance, integrity and transparency.”
If Ferrari did cheat they should lose their points and victories in these races and if the FIA allowed a system that manipulates a fuel-flow sensor to bypass a set limit, someone should get fired.
The way it looks now Ferrari definitively did something very dubious and something is definitively being covered up by the FIA! I expect to see the findings quite soon, unless the truth is worse than what everyone already assumes.
4th March 2020, 13:46
The rules about maximum fuel-flow seem quite clear and cheating a sensor or finding a mistake in the rules is not the same as inventing a clever new steering system.
But honestly I’m way more upset about this cover up then about Ferrari (possibly) finding some loop hole in the rules. Whatever happend the fans and other teams deserve to know and the FIA should not be withholding the truth!
28th February 2020, 19:37
Either that or this is what Binotto meant by Ferrari losing on politics throughout last year. Binotto may have a strategy on politics now, and this statement could be a good thing for them, say late last years gimped Ferrari PU might have become what Binotto has promised at launch.
29th February 2020, 0:32
Oil burning is not illegal in F1. Just like for fuel it has been limited to maximum amounts and for oil iirc this is 0.6liters per 100km. It was 1.2 liters at one point. Additionally because the party mode is nothing more than oil burn mode the teams nowadays must do their qualifying laps with the auxiliary oil tank empty to avoid cheating. A lot of t his is hidden in the technical directives which are only shared to teams and you can’t download them on the fia website. At least I couldn’t find them. But from fia’s point od view I’m sure they prefer the term party mode and not oil burn mode…
source for aux fuel tank: https://www.motorsport.com/f1/news/fia-closes-f1-qualifying-oil-burn-loophole-1032975/3072085/
And then there was the talk about some teams using electrical interference to make the fuel flow sensor not give correct readings.
29th February 2020, 15:37
If this was one of the minor teams, there would have been sanctions possibly even disqualifications.
The verdict of these investigation would be open and clear. Instead we have this uncertain outcome which doesn’t confirm, or dispell the rumours.It seems to me, it leaves the way open for the same thing to occur again.
The FIA reaching an ‘aggrement’ with Ferrari seems an odd conclusion to reach.
They set the rules, the teams obide.
29th February 2020, 19:56
some discussion on this topic::
2nd March 2020, 10:10
Teams also bought hundreds of fuel flow sensors instead of a half dozen they probably required. Getting a “good” sensor is probably second most critical performance item after tyres.
28th February 2020, 17:00
Remember when Verstappen was crucified by the media for calling ferrari cheaters? Guess they owe him an apology
4th March 2020, 13:58
Not really. They didn’t crucify him about being wrong, only that he was calling them cheaters without any proof.
And since the FIA is not giving any details (yet), he still cant proof they where cheating.
Though I do suspect the FIA will be forced to give up the details soon :)
28th February 2020, 17:02
Their wins should be taken away…
Stephen Crowsen (@drycrust)
28th February 2020, 18:47
Yes, one has to wonder about how serious this is. After all Renault’s results were Disqualified from the Japanese GP for breaking a rule, so why not here?
28th February 2020, 19:04
Renault disqualified in Japan GP because Racing Point complaint about their system that FIA counted as Drivers Aid. In Singapore GP, Daniel Ricciardo disqualified from Q1 because his fuel OVER LIMIT. So, in your idea, it is FAIR if letting Renault team using Drivers Aid to boosting performance? Do not talking about others team, just talk about RENAULT and rules that they set as dealings (i knew these one also part of agreement between FIA and teams). If your answer is FAIR enough……and then why Racing Point COMPLAINT?
In 2019, Red Bull up graded engine 6 times from Azerbaijan to Russia GP. In French GP, Honda install Jet Turbo engine to boosting Max verstappen performance. If others didn’t used that JET TURBO ENGINE (the same system used for light plane for short route, it means using that engine Max flying), but Max use it……for you, it is NOT cheating? Fair enough? Again, FIA count it LEGAL, so for me it is LEGAL.
28th February 2020, 23:50
Because they didn’t break any rule?
29th February 2020, 9:09
Sure, a publicly owned company, listed at the NYSE, prefers nothing more than telling their shareholders that, despite being innocent, they have reached a settlement with a third party, paying a hefty fine and commit themselves to said third party’s rules and regulations…..
You do know that by doing so the board is actually contrary to their legal commitments and can be fired and even be prosecuted?
29th February 2020, 12:27
Nothing at this point suggest there is a fine to be paid.
29th February 2020, 10:52
@matiascasali If Ferrari were innocent then they would have made sure that the FIA stated so in the press release the lack of detail shows there is too much to be suspicious of otherwise Ferrari would not be imposed into a position to support the FIA with research in the age of budget caps!!
29th February 2020, 14:50
You get your ferrari duvet cover dry cleaned or just washing machine matiacssili?
28th February 2020, 18:54
I copy paste from there:
The FIA has studied the Ferrari power unit closely in recent seasons. Additional monitoring equipment was added to the team’s power unit during 2018.
(In 2018, when Red Bull using Renault engine, Christian Horner compliment Ferrari engine as Benchmark, do you think Horner words is cheating words and need to take away also?)
28th February 2020, 17:07
Interesting timing of the announcement. I don’t think there are any further press conferences scheduled after testing today, are there?
28th February 2020, 21:32
Nope there are none until Australia @phylyp, how silly of them, right, almost as if they hope it will sink in Corona virus worries by that time!
29th February 2020, 15:45
So does this mean Ferrari are free to continue with the same engine policy?
Will this mean more special buttons on their steering wheel and more ‘jet fuel’ modes for qualifying?
I guess it would look suspious if their performances fell away in this last season of they hybrid era.
So maybe the FIA has simply capitulated and allow Ferrari to bend the rules for one more season.
4th March 2020, 14:04
nope. “The technical regulations have been revised again for 2020, requiring teams to add second fuel flow sensors to their power units.” So, there Trick/Cheat/Loophole is not allowed in 2020.
28th February 2020, 17:11
The phrase “reached a settlement” is pretty damning.
The FIA need to be more open about this, this just reeks of ‘Ferrari International Assistance’.
They’re not just a team who’ve taken wins, they also supply engines for others on the grid, so the impact is wider.
28th February 2020, 17:31
Indeed, at least that’s what I conclude from this statement as well, @phylyp.
And it is disappointing and not fair that the FIA doesn’t come with a clearer statement if they were/weren’t breaking the rules. And you can do that without giving away any secrets, @geemac.
28th February 2020, 17:55
@coldfly – I just read an interesting – albeit heavily downvoted – comment on reddit that offers an alternate possibility for the settlement – that it could be from the FIA to Ferrari for reputational damage, and that Ferrari were not guilty.
That line of thought doesn’t explain the added monitoring in 2020 or the go-green stuff, but it is an interesting theory in the absence of any further detail.
28th February 2020, 18:40
thanks @phylyp. late night tonight? ;)
I don’t think it is that plausible. If Ferrari were 100% ‘not guilty’ then they would at least have demanded FIA to say so. Maybe settle in addition for Todt to repeat that message from the starting grid at every GP just after the national anthem.
And defamation is very thin as it is FIA’s role to investigate the rumoured offences.
29th February 2020, 2:18
@coldfly – I think that’s the most succinct rebuttal – the FIA are the regulatory body in this instance. And yep, it was a late night!
28th February 2020, 21:41
@phylyp, @coldfly, that’s an interesting take but given the agreement mentioned those extra measurement devices, and how Ferrari will ‘voluntarily’ help FIA with road safety, CO2 stuff – ie. a, likely substantial, fine, that seems quite an optimistic take. (did either of you read the AMuS (German) article about how they believe Ferrari has had to rework the complete PU to comply and has, for now, less power? Also, likely pressure from Red Bull, Mercedes that this statement came out at all (but, AMuS also sometimes seems quite close, maybe too much, to dr. Marko).
James Neutron (@phillyspur)
28th February 2020, 22:08
@bosyber I did read that article. It makes complete sense that they would only agree to those additional conditions in lieu of a public fine. I’m certain that Ferrari wouldn’t out of the goodness of their hearts decide to contribute to the FIA’s research on green initiatives.
28th February 2020, 23:40
@bosyber – that’s an interesting article, thank you. Yeah, I’m also in the camp that Ferrari have been caught out and they are downplaying the matter. I can’t wait for Horner to make some passing statements on this matter in Melbourne (if Melbourne?). He can be quite cutting with his statements on occasion, and this is a time I’d welcome it.
I’d be curious to see the team principals lined up for the official FOM interviews at Melbourne, because that will give us an indication of how much Liberty and FIA want to play this down (or not). FOM have tended to put up controversial people together for their scheduled interviews (often drivers, but sometimes TPs as well) since that makes for juicier interviews.
If they go by the same playbook, I’d expect to see Binotto, Toto, Horner up there, possibly with either Cyril “1000 bhp” Abiteboul or a Honda rep (my money would be on Cyril over the Honda person).
If they want to downplay this, they’ll put up other TPs to help deflect the matter (e.g. Racing Point for their “Tracing Point” car, Claire to speak about a hopeful Williams, and maybe Vasseur about Kubica.
29th February 2020, 15:54
I see this redirected attention to monitoring ‘fuel flow’ as a red herring. It does nothing, says nothing about the use of ‘oil’ and ‘other unsanctioned substances’ being injected into the engine. It leaves this area again unmonitored. Its another case of catch me if you can. Where the only concerns addressed, iare those based on the speculative quesitions raised by opposing teams. We are left to guess at the Ferrari advantage, and whether it is actually legal.
28th February 2020, 19:15
I’m baffled. Like the good ol’ times indeed.
Pinak Ghosh (@pinakghosh)
29th February 2020, 9:33
What settlement means has to be cleared up.
28th February 2020, 17:15
I don’t think this is as shady as it sounds. The manufacturers PU’s are a closely guarded secret…if the FIA issued a statement which said “Ferrari aren’t cheating because this is what they have been up to” they’d hand all of Ferrari’s IP to the other manufactures on a platter.
28th February 2020, 17:39
Think the same, and this originates from FIA investigation, not a competitor complaining or asking for clarification. If one team is accusing another to break a specific rule or regulation, the FIA has to provide conter arguments, but in this case the FIA is happy to make sure Ferrari is compliant in the future.
Nobody needs to know which kind of venturi effect Ferrari has created to get oil mixed in the fuel if nobody is suspecting it.
28th February 2020, 18:38
It actually did come about because of a protest made by Red Bull @jeanrien.
I do think the statement means that Ferrari were shown to do what’s needed to cheat. But the FIA probably weren’t able to prove it with 100% certainty
28th February 2020, 20:09
@bascb I recollect now, leading to the additional sensor in Ferrari engines (first not disclosed).
Could it be that Ferrari and the FIA discussed the possibility to trick or bypass sensor measurements and reached an agreement about how engine should be monitored? Would be in line with the announcement and make sense not to disclose it as it would hint other teams about the trick and the FIA doesn’t want anyone digging in that alley. While Ferrari knows they are being watched and prefer that the FIA monitors everyone on an appropriate manner so that nobody else is getting the advantage they had…
Still a bit intriguing how it was announced.
28th February 2020, 23:42
@jeanrien – while that is a compelling argument, I don’t see it explaining why Ferrari are giving concessions to the FIA by helping with their “go green” initiatives. And let’s admit it, those are concessions, Ferrari aren’t yet having to “greenwash” their business or their cars for them to have volunteered that.
29th February 2020, 8:38
@phylyp Ferrari have actually made a few steps in that direction, having launched a plug in hybrid version of the SF90 Stradale last year (with a pure electric operating range of 25km), with Camilleri confirming that, by 2022, all of Ferrari’s cars will be hybrid vehicles.
What has resulted in more speculation, however, was the application for a patent in January this year for options relating to the powertrain of a vehicle, including options for a pure electric car (as well as different hybrid configurations). You could, therefore, say that Ferrari is perhaps making moves towards “greenwashing” their business.
Overall, what exactly Ferrari were up to is something that I doubt will be easily resolved, especially with such a vague statement – if anything, it only seems to have stirred up more debate.
As some have noted, there may have been enough uncertainty on what Ferrari was doing that the current deal is intended to allow both sides to save face and claim a victory of sorts. It also has to be said that there certainly have been quite a few cases of the FIA allowing a car to compete in a configuration that was later judged to be illegal, but have allowed those previous results to stand.
4th March 2020, 14:22
The FIA doen’t need to give up any Ferrari PU secrets, to be transparent about their findings and agreement.
Whatever they did is no longer legal in 2020, so something is definitely being covered up by this vague and oddly timed statement.
It seems either the FIA or Ferrari (or both) did something they desperately want to hide.
28th February 2020, 17:19
I cannot believe this report. To me this sounds like: they did break the rules, but hey, let’s not make a fuss of it. That does not improve FIA’s credibility.
28th February 2020, 18:39
It was probably hard for the FIA to get clear enough evidence
MEGATRON M12 (@megatron)
28th February 2020, 19:47
When did the FIA ever have credibility?
28th February 2020, 20:08
they only have credibility when they nail the teams we hate.
28th February 2020, 17:35
But there wasn’t even anything illegal in it at this point.
28th February 2020, 18:08
Then why did they have to “Make an agreement”?
28th February 2020, 18:45
Because the FIA may have not wanted other engines doing whatever Ferrari came up with, altough, completely legal. Most likely they did close the loophole Ferrari had founded, but admited that it was ok when they did it.
James Neutron (@phillyspur)
28th February 2020, 22:13
That doesn’t really make sense though. If that had been the case they could simply have done the same thing they did with Mercedes this year and the DAS.they could have said it’s perfectly legal this year but we’re disallowing it going forward. They didn’t do that. And it was intentional.
28th February 2020, 22:39
Let’s say all this fuss about Ferrari PU, is actually some sort of new technology design they found that extracts more power from F1 PU concept, is that cheating or actually just being smarter?? For me that’s the peak of f1 engineering
28th February 2020, 23:45
We all knew about the das because we could actually see it in work. If for some reason we couldnt see it, still legal, still outlawed for next year. Can it be the same, just we couldnt see the PU?
29th February 2020, 2:29
Also the DAS was already illegal in 2021 rules before its public introduction recently I believe. I don’t think its something they have to amend existing rules for whereitbe now or 2021.
Although apparently its still in grey under current rules even.
28th February 2020, 19:51
yup, as far as we know no broken rules. According to sky there were ways to spoof wrong values. My theory was that PU makers might have secondary chambers before injection and after the flow meter, say the car is braking it consumes no fuel yet the flow meter is filling up the secondary chamber to use when the car is on the throttle on top of the 100kg/h limit.
1st March 2020, 9:50
Yes that’s why part of the agreement/verdict includes Ferrari doing a form of community service.
Penalties like that are usually handed out when no rules were broken …
2nd March 2020, 6:55
@f1osaurus if the car was clearly illegal the fia would have stopped it from running. If the car was later proven to be illegal, Ferrari would end up being excluded from the championship. As many have suggested, the fia didn’t find anything wrong, this settlement shows cooperation, whatever Ferrari was doing to circumvent the rules is now illegal.
Adam Hardwick (@fluxsource)
2nd March 2020, 10:18
@peartree You mean if it was proven to be illegal, Ferrari should end up being excluded from the championship. The whole point of many of the comments here is that the statement heavily implies that Ferrari were cheating, but the FIA is letting them off with a slap on the wrist.
2nd March 2020, 16:34
@fluxsource the fia started looking after this issue last year, hence my hypothetical tone, past tense tone.
2nd March 2020, 18:31
The FIA did stop them from using it
It’s not that simplistic. The FIA needs to prove it was used.
If the FIA found nothing wrong, there would have been no need for an agreement. Especially not one with punitive measures.
29th February 2020, 8:22
@jerejj the vagueness of the statement over Ferrari’s behaviour, with the suspicion that the phrase “aassist the FIA in other regulatory duties in Formula 1 and in its research activities” may be a euphemism for “paying a fine to the FIA”, is enough to make people suspect that there was something going on.
28th February 2020, 17:40
They’ve already confirmed there’s nothing in the engine breaking the rules, so I get the feeling this is regarding exploiting a loophole rather than outright cheating. The way they’ve worded this makes me think it’s a “we can’t penalise you, but stop taking the mick” kinda deal.
28th February 2020, 18:02
Yeah I agree – sounds like they’ve found a loophole – the settlement is probably a limit on what they are doing and it can’t be made public because it will give away what they are doing.
28th February 2020, 19:08
As this ‘ere ‘loophole’ isn’t known to the rest of the world, what do you think will happen should another team stumble upon the same ‘fiddle’ and are caught? Given the FIAs history, they will have the book thrown at them.
28th February 2020, 20:25
Agreed. If Ferrari were cheating the FIA would have stated so and penalized the team in some way. The wording of this to me implies that Ferrari were either exploiting vagaries in the rules or came up with something that the FIA had never dreamed possible and in either case they could only come to an agreement with Ferrari that they’d stop doing it. Most likely they’d stop doing it from 2021 onward given the late timing of the release.
1st March 2020, 9:53
@velocityboy Ferrari are penalized (agreed to) doing community service for the FIA.
If it was a loophole, no “agreement” would be needed.
28th February 2020, 18:05
Let’s play devil’s advocate. From what I understand from this article is that Ferrari (much like Mercedes and DAS) has found a loophole within some regulation. Considering how closely guarded the specifics of these engines are, the team may have found a method in which will allow the engine to run more power. If the FIA were to announce a closure to that loophole, it may expose the “closely guarded secrets” the engine was using to produce more power. The FIA, having said that the two parties have agreed to commit themselves to the monitoring of PU’s in future could mean that they’ve told them to no longer exploit that grey area and a better methodology will be used to prevent such happenings.
28th February 2020, 18:24
Nicely argued, @lebz
28th February 2020, 20:37
@lebz agreed. My best guess of how this unfolded: FIA suspect Ferrari have found a loophole with the fuel flow sensor based on GPS data, engine notes, etc.. But after months of investigating can’t quite figure out how they are doing it. They test and test and test but can’t figure it out. Both the FIA and Ferrari have to put the story to rest because it is making both of them look bad. Ferrari because it looks like they are cheating and the FIA because they look incompetent to regulate the series. FIA offers a settlement to Ferrari that if Ferrari tells them how they are doing it they won’t be punished but they can’t do it anymore and they have to provide the details so that the regulations can be tightened and more effective testing can happen.
This is similar to what happened in the US recently with the stolen pitch signs in baseball. MLB needed the players to cooperate to get the details so gave them all immunity from punishment. Only the managers and organizations received punishment.
James Neutron (@phillyspur)
28th February 2020, 22:18
But The baseball players were cheating.
28th February 2020, 23:49
@g-funk – As someone who doesn’t follow baseball, I honestly thought people were stealing some form of signage (like the baseplates) on the field! And to me that just sounded weird. Of course, a quick internet search clarified matters greatly :)
29th February 2020, 16:05
nope. This just says from the available information, the fuel flow is one possible explaination for their higher power output.
Its an answer based on a guess. but it doesnt then elliminate any other possible explainations. eg suppose they were
using other fuel sources besided the sanctioned fuels.
This reminds me of the use of nitrogen in drag cars, and the way that practice was conducted. What if Ferrari are burning alien substances with a higher combustion? Its one thing to legislate for what you know, but it says nothing for the unknowns.
29th February 2020, 1:36
Except that isn’t how it turned out. It was Red Bull who realised what Ferrari were doing and requested a technical clarification from the FIA. It was something along the lines of “Can we put a device on the fuel flow meter to baffle its reading?” The the FIA responded with “No, that would be completely illegal.” And Ferrari’s power advantage immediately vanished.
So it wasn’t a loophole at all, and all the teams know it. That’s why Verstappen openly accused Ferrari of cheating in that press conference. Since then, words have been said to hush the matter up.
29th February 2020, 9:20
Plausible statement. However, as a counter argument, as far as I saw, they still retained their power advantage. The loss of outright speed in Austin was due to Leclerc taking an older engine. There was no way to gauge their speed with Vettel as he had massive problems during that race. There was also admittance from Mattia that they were running a higher down force setup to experiment for 2020. However, in the remaining races (Brazil and Yas Marina) they still had the fastest top speed.
Red Bull’s comments were pure allegations and speculation to which we may or may never be able to verify.
Considering how new this story is, I think it’s best to wait and see where this story goes. I can’t imagine the other teams not protesting the decision for this case to be made private unless, the FIA supply good ground on why the decision was made.
28th February 2020, 18:06
Ferrari still racing under different rules to the rest of the field. The FIA brushing rule breaking under the carpet because the red team get special treatment and extra money. F1 needs investigating by the same Americans who pulled the rug out of FIFA.
28th February 2020, 18:16
Finding a Loophole is not cheating, it’s like the Mercedes And Red Bull suspension which was declared ilegal for 2018, it they used openly in 2017. Or so much other things.
28th February 2020, 19:05
Try fiddling your electricity meter and telling the power company you used a loophole and see how far that gets you.
Ferrari have been caught red-handed fixing the fuel flow meter. A couple of years ago, Daniel Ricciardo was disqualified for a small glitch in fuel usage. Ferrari have kept their results. This is just the latest in a long list of the FIA allowing Ferrari to get away with cheating, but severely punishing other teams & drivers for similar offences.
How Ferrari have kept their Veto is beyond me.
Jimmi Cynic (@jimmi-cynic)
28th February 2020, 19:52
No… this is why Ferrari HAVE their veto. To keep their balance of power.
Tacit acknowledgment from the FIA that Ferrari is more important to F1 than any other team. At least that’s cleared up.
28th February 2020, 19:54
Ferrari isnt messing the power companies meter. thats cheap false equivalancy. all the teams do this. heard of the double-deck defuser? heard of merc burning oil to increase their power? heard of f-duct? renault mass damper? heard of DAS? all teams study the rules to find loopholes. your bias is showing
1st March 2020, 22:05
jeff, it does have a form of equivalency given the accusation they were relying on electrical interference of the fuel sensor to allow them to temporarily exceed the fuel flow limits.
I would also argue that, if anything, there is more of a false equivalency in your comparison of devices such as the F-duct to what Ferrari are accused of doing.
In the cases you cite, the teams were setting out to find an interpretation of the rules that is still valid, just one that is not what the FIA may have intended when they wrote those rules. They might not have always been ones that people agree with, but there is a way that the rules can be interpreted that they mean that what they were doing does meet the letter of the law.
However, what Ferrari stand accused of doing is actively manipulating the way that the fuel flow measuring device operated to stop it from functioning as intended. None of the examples you cite are intended to directly prevent the FIA from detecting a non-compliance with the regulations, and in fact most of those devices were being openly used by those competitors.
Renault, for example, did not hide the fact that they were using a mass damper – they might not have revealed exactly how it worked, but they were pretty open about the fact they had one fitted to the car and made no effort to hide it from the FIA, the scruitineers or from the race stewards.
In that specific case, Renault even made an explicit point of fitting their spare car with a mass damper at the 2006 German Grand Prix and going to the stewards with technical documentation telling them how it worked in order to prove a point about the device being, in their opinion, legal.
Even though the FIA had officially declared that they did not consider mass dampers legal before the German Grand Prix, the race stewards at the German Grand Prix actually countermanded the FIA’s own scruitineers, publicly released a statement stating “The use of such mass dampers must be considered as permissible.” and declaring that they considered the car to be in a legal configuration.
As far as I am aware, there is no equivalent case of Ferrari explicitly telling the stewards how the device fitted to their car worked, whilst publicly Ferrari has denied having such a device fitted to their car – their approach could not be more different to most of those cases.
Furthermore, the consequences of what Ferrari are alleged to have been doing, which was being able to exceed the specified fuel flow rates, is a direct breach of the rules however you cut it. Section 5.1.4 or Section 5.1.5 of the regulations are absolute statements: the fuel flow, under no circumstances whatsoever, can exceed the specified rate.
There is no alternative way of interpreting those statements, and the FIA has not shown any discretion if those rules are broken – consider Gasly’s penalty at Baku in 2019 for exceeding the fuel flow rate, where the stewards stated that he’d exceeded Section 5.1.4 and disqualified him from qualifying. It was a simple blunt statement – he’d exceeded the rule and was immediately disqualified, no ifs and no buts.
29th February 2020, 8:03
Aberracus, the debates about the legality of various different suspension systems in 2017 hit multiple teams over the course of that season.
There was an initial concept, based around the hydraulic suspension elements that some teams are using, that Ferrari challenged that impacted Red Bull, Mercedes and McLaren. However, Ferrari itself also later faced challenges over the front suspension system that it introduced in the Belgian GP, which Renault and Red Bull later tried to mimic – although Ferrari later dropped it because they found that they didn’t gain the benefits they’d expected, that system was also subjected to a Technical Directive later in the season that restricted what Ferrari were doing.
28th February 2020, 19:18
Perhaps using advanced vape tech to get the same hit without burning tobacco?
Stephen Crowsen (@drycrust)
29th February 2020, 9:26
Perhaps Doppler shift is affected by pressure as well as movement.
28th February 2020, 19:26
Wow I’m shocked. I thought Ferrari’s amazing form after the italian gp was down to that magical aero update they introduced at the Singapore gp. An update that added a mega amount of down force but also resulted in no extra drag which meant Ferrari managed to go even faster in the straights…. although I always wondered why the magical aero update stopped working after the Mexican gp.
2nd March 2020, 9:30
there is always a trade off between drag and downforce, you cannot add downforce to a car without adding drag, that was the original problem for ferrari they had less downforce therefore less drag. To add downforce and keep straight line speed must have come from engine upgrades.
28th February 2020, 19:44
Sounds awful but on the other hand Ferrari is always the cheat, on the other top teams are always very pious. Palmer said Renault had that brake pre-selector thing since the lotus days. The midfield was waiting for a good combined result from renault so they could dsq them. the system is hardly illegal since you really don’t drive unaided. I was watching testing and from many onboards you see things pop up on their own, stuff is changing automatically all the time.
28th February 2020, 21:52
Just specify things like size and weight of car if need be and leave the teams to it apart from that. Would create a great spectacle of what the best minds in the business can come up with and innovation
James Neutron (@phillyspur)
28th February 2020, 22:23
Ferrari felt so bad for the FIA that they agreed to a settlement to allow them to save face. And just to show how nice they are they also agreed to help with all the various green initiatives that the FIA was pursuing. And they would even pay for it. It’s not a fine or anything.
29th February 2020, 1:29
Strait up cheating, and the FIA ends up protecting them. Can’t risk damaging the rep of the red team huh?
29th February 2020, 2:22
Just make the findings public even if you want to settle. Keeping it a secret will make people assume the worst on the part of the FIA and Ferrari.
29th February 2020, 4:15
Someone just made 100 million Euro! Better than paying a penalty.
29th February 2020, 8:01
Well played Ferrari…
If I’m the accused I wouldn’t want to settle unless the prosecution got something substantial on me that has a good chance of eventually being proven in court. At the same time, if I’m the prosecutor I’m only settling if what I have is inconclusive, hearsay or circumstantial and would take a long time and a lot of resources to prove.
My guess is Ferrari strongarmed the FIA into a deal that would obligate them to effectively doing nothing substantial by threatening to fight this till the ends of the earth, thus draining their time and resources, and by threatening that they and their sister teams would vote against any and all proposed regulation changes for the foreseeable future.
Also, this nice little arrangement makes Ferrari privy to exactly what the FIA is looking at and thus how they can better cheat in the future without the FIA ever finding out… Well played Ferrari indeed.
29th February 2020, 14:51
Well, the teams have a precedent in what happened to McLaren in 2007. The last thing Ferrari want is to lose all their points, all their winnings for the season, have Ferrari be labeled a cheater and so on and so forth.
I suspect the FIA would prevent that from happening to McLaren or Mercedes as it would hurt their brands immensely. In many ways, this might be the correct approach to deal with this and Todt’s probably smart enough to know that.
I wouldn’t be surprised if he made more money from this than over his entire career at Ferrari but that’s probably the right move for the sport.
29th February 2020, 10:49
And that is the final nail in the coffin of sport.
It is now nothing more than a political show, and the competitors are actors no longer athletes.
This and the Renault braking the rules make me a really sad F1 fan.
29th February 2020, 11:40
If the FIA are soft peddling a dubious system in the Ferrari engine they are playing a dangerous game. Other manufacturers may take it as a tacit admission that Ferrari will be treated differently to other teams in such matters.
And unlike the independent teams who haven’t got the same reasons nor the same financial support for being in F1, the manufacturer’s will not take it laying down.
The FIA may think that Ferrari are vital to F1 but what will that serve if the manufacturers leave and the remaining teams are emasculated independents who can’t really compete and so Ferrari take all the prizes all the time without and real competition.
Rather like the Ferrari International Assistance period with Ferrari being blatantly let off every hook they impaled themselves on, with any real competitor being treated toughly for the same offence, the racing was hardly worth the effort of turning on the TV let alone spending five hundred quid on a weekend ticket.
That period stopped as soon as real commercial pressures came into play.
29th February 2020, 11:54
There’s a lot of r conspiratorial thinking going on here, but really the null hypothesis is that Ferrari were doing something which relies for legality on one interpretation of the wording of the regs, while the FIA interpreted the same but differently. Regardless of who’s actually right, that’s the kind of case which can be dragged through the courts for a decade, if no agreement is reached.
I’ve forgotten the specifics, but I believe that’s quite reasonable – you can argue about whether fuel flow means measured/reported flow or actual flow.
Fuel flow is a temperature sensitive measurement, and my guess is that Ferrari were warming or cooling the fuel slightly and confusing the sensor that way. If so, they could argue that’s not prohibited by the rules, and have a decent case – no actual fiddling with the flow meter, no higher measurements than allowed, therefore legal.
29th February 2020, 15:56
maFIAt strikes back!
29th February 2020, 16:19
As one of the founding F1 teams they’ll be allowed to ‘compete’ by whatever means, providing they don’t affect the outcome of the championships.
That’s not to say they wont affect the standings of the lesser teams, or the finances resulting from their place bonus.
29th February 2020, 21:42
Sounds like an invitation to other teams to “explore new ways to cheat” and any message from FIA will be replied with “Well, you have reached agreement with Ferrari, so lets do ours agreement now”
29th February 2020, 22:41
“…Formula 1’s owners have signed a deal to sell sponsorship rights to betting companies.
The deal with Interregional Sports Group, reportedly worth more than $100m (£76m), will allow F1 to develop in-play betting markets during grands prix.
F1 will also work with Sportradar to monitor betting-related fraud.”
Allowing bets to stand when one of the competitors has cheated is not going to impress those who have lost money. As F1 is an American owned company, I wonder if the US authorities might show an interest in these recent developments, as they did when they delved into FIFA some 5 years ago.
Adam Hardwick (@fluxsource)
2nd March 2020, 10:25
The other takeaway from this is the Ferrari still couldn’t win either championship despite cheating. That must be a bitter pill to swallow…
2nd March 2020, 11:22
Max, how dare you!
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