Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Why the FIA’s latest response won’t placate Ferrari’s furious rivals over engine row

2020 F1 season

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With 10 minutes to go in the final pre-season test last Friday, the FIA issued a statement which shocked and outraged more than half the teams in the Formula 1 paddock.

Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Renault, Racing Point, Williams and AlphaTauri made their feelings known in a strongly-worded statement issued on Wednesday, which the FIA responded to 24 hours ago. But these were just the opening exchanges in was promises to be prolonged hostilities, with sky-high stakes rising on the outcome.

Having spoken to several F1 figures familiar with behind-the-scenes developments, RaceFans can disclose the background to the extraordinary developments of the past week.

As outlined here previously, following the summer break last year Ferrari appeared to have eked out a performance advantage from its power unit. Engine manufacturers are not subject to the same developments restrictions as teams (but will be from next year).

The exact details of how Ferrari achieved its step forward and whether it was legal is shrouded in secrecy and, of course, key to their rivals’ objections.

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Spa-Francorchamps, 2019
Ferrari scored their first win of 2019 by less than a second
Prompted by an enquiry from Red Bull, the FIA issued a technical directive following the Mexican Grand Prix, where Ferrari scored its sixth pole position in a row. From the next race at Circuit of the Americas the straight-line superiority of SF90s was not as evident.

A technical insider consulted by RaceFans indicated this was no coincidence. Ferrari faces accusations – as yet unsubstantiated – that it was using some means to bypass the maximum fuel flow rate of 100kg per hour to gain a performance advantage. But how?

The logistics of the one-week gap between the Mexican and American rounds was a complicating factor for the FIA as it tried to work out what Ferrari was doing. As a result, they considered it inopportune to seize and seal components. Come Austin, Ferrari were suddenly back to their pre-summer break pace and seemed to go off the boil thereafter.

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Suspicions and accusations lingered through to the Abu Dhabi finale, where Ferrari was embroiled in another furore over its power unit. Before the race began Charles Leclerc’s car was stopped for a random check and found to have 4.88kg more fuel onboard than the team had declared. The team claimed “a measurement discrepancy” and was fined $50,000, but Leclerc kept his podium place behind a Mercedes and Red Bull. The question remains: Why was team-mate Sebastian Vettel’s car not also ‘spot-checked’?

Charles Leclerc, Ferrari, Yas Marina, 2019
Leclerc’s car raised suspicions in Abu Dhabi
Competitor teams were allegedly dissuaded from appealing the verdict, having been given assurances that the FIA had the fuel system investigation well in hand. They did, though, point to recent exclusions from the results of Renault and Haas for technical infringements, and questioned why Ferrari had been treated leniently. Ferrari’s breach was considered a sporting, rather than technical, infringement.

So to last Friday, and the FIA’s bombshell announcement. Ferrari customers Sauber and Haas have kept low profiles, but one wonders how they feel given that regulations demand engine parity between teams using a common supplier, and they clearly did not benefit from the same ‘tweaks’.

But the contingent of seven non-Ferrari teams went absolutely ballistic as the sporting and commercial ramifications hit home. As we will see, however, while there are seven teams, there are seven different agendas.

According to one team boss, Mercedes Motorsport CEO Toto Wolff corralled the seven non-Ferrari teams via a conference call on Sunday during which the decision was taken to voice their collective objections to the secret settlement struck between the FIA and Ferrari. The vexed teams had first voiced their concerns about Ferrari’s performance gains as far back as August.

“Had the FIA investigated Ferrari off their own bat, then a secret deal could possibly – I stress possibly – be acceptable,” said the team boss, speaking on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter. “But we teams pushed and pushed for clarity, then we’re all left out of the detail.”

Jean Todt, Chase Carey, Monaco, 2019
Todt and Carey are under pressure from Ferrari’s rivals
During the teams’ conference call consensus was reached to issue a robustly-worded collective statement in which all teams record “their strongest objections to the settlement”, and their intention to “to pursue full and proper disclosure in this matter” and that they “reserve our rights to seek legal redress.”

In addition, it was decided to address a joint letter to FIA president Jean Todt and chairman and CEO of F1 Chase Carey, in which “over 30 questions were addressed to them”. A source stated that “we demanded direct answers from the FIA to some pretty hard-hitting question about the deal, and questioned (F1 commercial rights holder) Liberty’s as to its role in the matter.”

While the contents of the letter remain confidential, RaceFans understands questions put to the FIA included ‘Did new evidence come to light?’, ‘Who led the investigation?’, ‘When was the investigation completed?’, ‘What was the scope of the investigation?’, ‘Why the need for secrecy?’, ‘What were the exact findings?’ and crucially: ‘Could the results of the 2019 championships be overturned?’

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Carey was in turn asked what the role and involvement of F1 had been, whether F1 believed that the matter had been handled correctly, whether the company had faith in the regulator – and whether the FIA is a fit and proper regulator – and why the prize pot should not be redistributed in view of the fact that Ferrari had not been able to prove that its car complied with the regulations at all times.

Ferrari will have received round $200 million in prize monies from F1 last year. Imagine the windfalls for the other nine should the Scuderia be forced to forfeit its income, as McLaren was after being found guilty of cheating in the ‘Spygate’ case of 2007. The potential legal ramifications lawsuits for the New York Stock Exchange-listed company (RACE) would not necessarily end there.

Tellingly, Red Bull F1 consultant Helmut Marko believes that the main team could be due an additional $24m should the prize fund be redistributed, which suggests that AlphaTauri would be in line for at least half that. The matter is complicated by the fact that in addition to its share of prize monies Ferrari also receives a long-standing team bonus and a historic constructors championship bonus, and the last two amounts are not performance-linked.

Still, the pure performance prize money received by Ferrari runs to $90m, which in itself represents a neat bonus for nine teams regardless of how it is split. Addressing the letter jointly to the FIA and F1 suggests that the seven teams hold both responsible but will seek commercial redress from Liberty – and hence the questions as to the role of F1 in this matter.

A source described the affair as “potentially Ferrari’s Dieselgate” – a reference to the emissions scandal which has cost Volkswagen Group billions in fines. Whatever, the futures of Mattia Binotto (managing director of Scuderia Ferrari) and Ferrari president Louis Camilleri are clearly in question, whether in Turin (where Exor, Ferrari’s main shareholder, sits) or New York.

Toto Wolff, Mercedes, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020
Ferrari scuppered Wolff’s chance to replace Carey
The only team which finished in front of Ferrari in last year’s championship, Mercedes, does not stand to potentially benefit from any retroactive sanction against the Scuderia in the same was as their rivals. But there are suspicions Wolff has an axe to grind with Ferrari after the Italians vetoed moves by team executives to senior F1 positions for a period of three years, thus depriving Wolff of an opportunity to replace Carey, revealed by RaceFans last year.

Racing Point has a technical collaboration with Mercedes, while team owner Lawrence Stroll is close friends with Wolff – “After Niki [Lauda] died, Lawrence became Toto’s new travelling companion,” a source recently said – and thus full support is to be expected from that quarter apart from any potential commercial windfalls, while Williams can do with every bit of cash going.

Renault is, of course, desperate to prove its Japan disqualification was unfair, plus Ferrari exclusion would see the French team place fourth – equalling its 2018 classification – which sits better in the boardroom of its beleaguered parent. Red Bull owner Dietrich Mateschitz would love put one over Ferrari and have Red Bull place second and see AlphaTauri move up to fifth, while an additional $24m (or more) would not go amiss.

And McLaren’s motives? Apart from the money, the team has long agitated for greater regulatory clarity plus there is, of course, potential for the team to place third, a classification it last achieved in 2012. Collectively the team are also concerned that the settlement sets a troubling precedent, particularly with regard to 2021’s Financial Regulations, which will require strict policing.

“If [the FIA] can’t police Ferrari’s fuel system, how can they police Ferrari’s budget cap?” asked one team boss, adding that this was one of Ferrari’s sticking points during negotiations for 2021’s agreements. Seven teams equals seven individual agendas, yet the sniff of money, opposition to Ferrari’s arrogance in constantly demanding special treatment, this secret deal and retention of its long-standing veto right clearly binds them.

FIA, Circuit de Catalunya
The FIA is in the spotlight over its handling of the investigation
So what happens next?

The FIA yesterday issued a reactionary statement in which it clarified its statutory provisions and procedures, stating that it had acted “in the best interest of the championship and of its stakeholders [which includes all teams] in compliance with Article 4 (ii) of its Judicial and Disciplinary Rules”, adding that the confidentiality of the terms of the settlement agreement is provided for by Article 4 (vi) of the JDR.”

Thus, the FIA is convinced that it had acted correctly – which is in turn contested by the ‘Group of Seven’, who have given the FIA (and F1) seven days to respond to their demand for answers. Thereafter it could get ugly, with the most likely scenario being that they demand both full disclosure of the settlement from the FIA, and commercial redress from F1 for any monies they believe are due them.

In terms of the letter, sent on Wednesday morning, the respondents were granted seven days to reply, effectively taking the timeframe to the opening day of the Australian Grand Prix, given that most team bosses will be travelling. That should make for an extremely lively start of the season – should the race go ahead – but it is unlikely that the matter will be resolved in Melbourne.

Watch the next moves by the ‘three Fs’ – FIA, F1 and Ferrari – carefully. Plus, of course, the reactions of Ferrari’s shareholders to what has the hallmarks of a major crisis for the Scuderia.

2020 F1 season

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Dieter Rencken
Dieter Rencken has held full FIA Formula 1 media accreditation since 2000, during which period he has reported from over 300 grands prix, plus...

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  • 69 comments on “Why the FIA’s latest response won’t placate Ferrari’s furious rivals over engine row”

    1. It would honestly be much better if the FIA just issued a statement saying

      “Guys, this is Ferrari we’re talking about here. Don’t expect to understand the rationale behind it.”

      1. In other words, because it is Ferrari, we should accept anything the FIA and it deem good for the sport. How that equates to the transparent application of the rules for all concerned boggles the mind.

      2. Meanwhile these cheats, keep cheating their way to 2nd, it is always the same thing 70 years of this.

    2. Ferrari were not caught doing anything illegal, so now those 7 other teams risk turning the sport into disrepute by starting political fights. F1 fans should not bash Ferrari, but rather the FIA for being incompetent at making sure all teams meet the rules. Ferrari found a loophole in the rules and had an advantage, not uncommon in F1. That advantage was investigated and the FIA didn’t find anything to back suspision. Because nothing was able to be proven, Wolff is crying to the moon. He has no place as FIA president, just like I don’t think Jean Todt should never have been selected as F1 president. Too much conflict of interest for both those guys. A dirty political power play by wolff. Sour grapes Toto kicking up a storm because he didn’t get a position in the head of the sport, and he has no evidence Ferrari did anything wrong. I don’t think the FIA has to answer any of those questions, unproven allegations are bad for any industry. Maybe toto is taking a page out of Donald Trump’s book hoping for public backlash against Ferrari and FIA like Hillary and Biden’s son. Too political!

      1. Completely misses the point. The teams are asking to disclose the results of the FIA investigation, not the punishment of Ferrari.

      2. William Jones
        6th March 2020, 13:38

        I’m pretty sure that this is the FIA’s bed to lie in alone. If Ferrari did nothing illegal, then they shouldn’t have lied that Ferrari made concessions, because they wouldn’t have. If Ferrari did do something illegal, then Ferrari should have been transparently punished, the details given out as they would with any other team.

        If they can prove Ferrari did something illegal, but they also know it wouldn’t stand up in court, then they should have released what they did have and let the fans and their sponsors do with that information as they will.

        What they should never do is secret deals with a team. Ever.

        This is the FIA’s fault, not Ferrari’s, not the seven teams, the FIA and the FIA alone have dragged the sport into disrepute, your accusation is as riddiculous as those you correctly argue against.

        1. William Jones, the second paragraph would be impossible – any attempt on the FIA’s part to treat as illegal something that would be regarded as legal by the Court of Appeal would lead to Ferrari sending the FIA to said court.

      3. Wellbalanced
        6th March 2020, 13:47

        I totally agree- if the FIA cannot prove anything, that’s the end of it. (NB Dieter, I believe the burden of proof is on the investigator- surely a team is not required to prove their compliance with the regulations)?

        I do think, and agree, that more broadly the issue is the competence of the FIA as an investigator- especially with the budget cap coming in.

        1. 3.2 Competitors must ensure that their cars comply with the conditions of eligibility and safety throughout practice and the race.
          3.3 The presentation of a car for initial scrutineering (see Article 25.1 below) will be deemed an implicit statement of conformity.

          Seems pretty clear to me.

          1. Wellbalanced
            6th March 2020, 17:27

            Thanks for the reply.

            To my mind, those regulations do nothing more than establish that:

            a) A team can present their car for scrutineering ;
            b) That action amounts to a statement of conformity; and
            c) Competitors must ensure the car does conform.

            What the regulations don’t say is where the burden of proof lies in proving that the competitor has failed in relation to point c). And logically that must be with the scrutineers- i.e. the FIA.

            This, it seems to me, is the key point- if the burden does lie with the FIA, the fact they have failed to prove a failure to comply means Ferrari should be treated as having done nothing wrong. Therefore, that is the end of the matter (whether or not a settlement was agreed).

            If, however, it is Ferrari that must prove their compliance, then the case remains open, and the seven teams’ grievance is well-founded and may indeed conceivably lead somewhere (beyond a general expression of unhappiness).

            1. Wellbalanced
              6th March 2020, 17:29

              *’those’ regulations don’t say (etc)

            2. There is Section 2.7 of the Technical Regulations, which starts with the statement that:
              “It is the duty of each competitor to satisfy the FIA technical delegate and the stewards that his automobile complies with these regulations in their entirety at all times during an Event.”

              That would point towards the onus being on the team to prove the legality of their car when presenting it for scrutiny by the stewards.

            3. Wellbalanced
              6th March 2020, 22:07

              Anon, thank you, that would seem to be on point, and for what it’s worth I would agree with your interpretation.

              In which case, I am extremely interested to see where this is all going to lead.

              Separately, I would observe it seems an odd set of rules that puts the onus on the teams. You would expect the burden to be on the investigator… but anyway.

              Thanks to you both for the input.

            4. There is Section 2.7 of the Technical Regulations, which starts with the statement that:
              “It is the duty of each competitor to satisfy the FIA technical delegate and the stewards that his automobile complies with these regulations in their entirety at all times during an Event.”

              That would point towards the onus being on the team to prove the legality of their car when presenting it for scrutiny by the stewards.

              This very much means that a “competitor” has a duty to satisfy FIA technical delegate and the stewards that their automobiles comply with regulations in what they are doing, not to prove whether what they are not doing complies with regulations or not.

        2. The more I read on this the more it feels like TC in 94.

          1. Jonathan Edwards
            6th March 2020, 20:39

            Except it was launch control, not traction control.

            1. It was traction control. Senna heard Schumacher use it (After he had been punted off in a lap 1 incident and was watching the race from the side). That’s how the whole thing came to light to begin with.

            2. It was not. As the official FIA-document stated there was only a source code for launch control.

              There were traces of TC-code in other cars.

              What Senna heard could have been a lot of things, like Schumachers different use of two pedals, but it was proven not to be tc

      4. Seems like you’ve already concluded that Ferrari is guilty of an offence. What the teams are demanding is for full disclosure of the agreement and settlement from the investigation. Secondly, if this stands as it is, then it’ll set a dangerous precedent incase a team is investigated for any alleged infringements in future, and wants to be treated the same as Ferrari. So yes the FIA must come out clean on this.

        1. @lems Yes, as the FIA explained, they know Ferrari is doing something wrong (GPS tracks tell this), but they couldn’t yet explain how.

          1. @lems @f1osaurus Which, owing to how standards of evidence works, means Ferrari couldn’t have been doing anything wrong. Otherwise every single team is one suspicion away from guilt, no matter how groundless that suspicion may be. And that’s not a viable way to run any sport.

            1. @alianora-la-canta Again, if a person suddenluy comes in posession of a huge amount of money, they can be asked to prove that they got their hands on this money by legal means.

              Similarly, if Ferrari shows a huge power boost well after the electronic boost is ran out (physics calculations!) then the onus is on them to explain how they manage this boost legally.

              They couldn’t and now the additional boost is gone and they have to pay the FIA in resources to prevent further loss of face.

              That’s how evidence works yes. You can stiuck your head in the sand like a pretty ostrich, but it won’t go away.

            2. @F1oSaurus And in the UK at least, if there is no evidence of illegality with regards to the acquisition of wealth, no conviction is possible. It is simply that legal methods of obtaining money have rules for recording that then affect documentation and tax. It’s the same thing that the USA used to put Al Capone in jail – they couldn’t prove the crimes he was originally wanted for, but his explanation for his wealth didn’t tally with his tax contributions…

              The FIA is entitled to check compliance with the whole ruleset (and take the necessary time to do this), and is permitted to pursue lines of reasoning that further this. It cannot assume guilt without evidence of guilt existing, either for the original matter or any subsequent issues considered during investigation. This is an important distinction, and continuing to claim that checking the whole ruleset is the same as working from the assumption of guilt, renders your described theory of evidence incompatible with what happens in those legal systems to which the FIA is subject.

      5. So not caught doing anything illegal? If I’m ‘not caught’ doing anything illegal after investigation then I’m declared innocent. I’m not offered a secret deal that also involves me giving something of value to the investigators to keep quiet.

        1. Yep and it certainly involve you building a new PU and say it is worse than last years…

        2. @riptide If it’s going to become illegal, you’re generally advised of this and expected to change course (possibly even expecting an agreement to change course). If you know something that would help the investigators stop other people, that generally comes with some sort of reward (e.g. whistleblower schemes for wrongful benefit claims). If the legal system believes it’s in the broader interest to keep the whole thing secret, that’s what happens (e.g. gagging orders).

          There’s precedent for all the elements of how this investigation ended for an innocent invididual in general law. It’s just that this combination doesn’t come up in general law very often (element 2 on its own is pretty rare).

      6. Ferrari were clearly cheating whether the FIA decide to tell us or not!

    3. This is going to rumble on and on. What’s the route for legal challenges from the teams? Would that be the European courts? I wonder what an actual legal challenge would be based on; the FIA are correct in asserting that they have the right under the rules to make such a settlement, and I can’t see any court having the ability to judge the merits of claims of technical infringement – especially when apparently the FIA themselves feel the data is inconclusive.

      What a mess.

      1. @mazdachris Swiss Court of Arbitration. Last time anything from F1 went there, it was queued for 2 1/2 years and then dropped because the team against whom it was lodged (Super Aguri) went bust. for unrelated reasons.

        This assumes that no breach of contract or anything like that is alleged, in which case it might land in the French civil courts instead. However, this would be highly risky because whoever sent it there would be at risk of a disrepute charge if the FIA didn’t like the outcome.

    4. Can I just add that this goes further back than the 2019. Suspicion of Ferrari’s engine arose around the second quarter of the 2018 season.

      1. Well all that oil fumes bellowing out the back of their cars kind of made it obvious, even as I one said anything, and all the commentators could do was smirk.

        Yes this has been going on for a while, and judging by the FIA’s recent ruling its likely to continue until its ‘proved’, whatever that means.

    5. The FIA should get investigated by the American blokes that took on Sepp Blatter and FIFA, I’d pay to see that!

    6. Nothing the 7 teams can do. You think Ferrari will explain to them what is he doing? did MB explained to anyone since 2014 how they are rockets till now?
      Also if they have evidence of what Ferrari is doing then this can come only from espionage because neither FIA knows what they do, so this will come back as boumerang on them.

      1. @bluechris It’s the FIA that has explaining to do.

    7. Again, that’s not the point.

      What the teams are protesting is not the alleged infringement of Ferrari, it’s the deal that the FIA made with Ferrari to not disclose the results of the investigation.

      1. Or they are afraid that Ferrari will show all the tricks that all this years all manufacturers where hide from FIA in an annonymous aggrement… its plausible? isnt it?

    8. They’ve backed themselves and all parties concerned into a corner with the admission of a confidential “settlement”. If Ferrari were innocent of any wrong doing, they shouldn’t have had to settle & the FIA would have no grounds to request or accept a settlement & the associated vows of secrecy. If they were guilty, they shouldn’t have been allowed to settle for the same reasons. I don’t see this going away quietly.

    9. Like the 1994 Benetton traction control controversy, the apparent advantage that Ferrari made is hidden in the software being used to control the car. There are probably millions of lines of code involved and the FIA have been unable to discover if the relevant parts are legal or not. I doubt if Ferrari are going to help them work it all out. Sometimes coding has been altered so often, that no one knows exactly what is happening in some programs, that’s the excuse I’ve heard in the past.

      I would hazard a guess that the only people outside of Ferrari who could solve the issue for the FIA probably work for the other teams in F1. The obvious solution would be to ensure no team’s software is allowed to interact with fuel meters and the like that installed for/by the FIA. But as we (& Ferrari) know, there are people who make a living out of hacking into such installations. It’s time for the FIA and F1 to completely separate the hardware they put into a F1 car from any likelihood of the teams being able to access it. Oh, and remove all of Ferrari’s results from last year.

      1. Jonathan Edwards
        6th March 2020, 20:42

        Again, as stated elsewhere above, Option 13 was launch control, not traction control.

    10. but one wonders how they feel given that regulations demand engine parity between teams using a common supplier, and they clearly did not benefit from the same ‘tweaks’.

      Not clear since all ferrari cars do well on power tracks.
      Results from last season are obviously off limits, the car passed scrutineering, the fia can’t judge Ferrari to have cheated even though it was not found to have cheated therefore the future is what is at stake, as an example renaults was not dsq of every race in the past 4 or 5 seasons.
      One thing is clear, the fia needs new press officers. Their first statement implies a plethora of misdeeds, the 2nd statement is perfectly fine. Now after the 1st statement nobody can trust the 2nd.
      The other thing that the fia managed to do is to show some of media’s true colours. Some journos wrote passionate drama pieces. Frankly all I saw was discrimimation. Brixworth would be hailed for being shifty, the italians are cheats. Double standards.

      1. @peartree

        Not clear since all ferrari cars do well on power tracks

        No they didn’t really.

        Especially not to the extrent that Ferrari performed in quali where they were using the cheat.

        1. @f1osaurus Proof? That is hearsay. Sky has spent the whole year saying that. They say they have insight. In fact they have implied such to Horner and Wolff and both have dodged that claim. You look at the speed traps and the other Ferrari cars are there, you look at performances on power tracks the other ferraris are there. I wouldn’t be surprised if Ferrari has more power than their costumers as much as RB, Merc and Renault have more power than their costumers.

          1. @peartree Lol. You have got to be kidding me.

            But yes, those GPS tracks that all the team bosses talked about and the media saw is the same what the FIA would use as proof.

            1. @f1osaurus proof where is the proof and what does it proves? Again hearsay, as nunof has suggested it is sky who is pushing that conspiracy, all works team are believed to hold an advantage over their costumer teams. I guess Haas qualified really poorly in Austria and raced brilliantly as they don’t benefit from that cheat you say they didn’t have available.

            2. @peartree It’s ok man. You don’t get it. As usual. Don’t get your panties in a bunch.

          2. Most of the people that foresee the proof that Ferrari were cheating follow Sky’s coverage religiously.

            1. You mean the FIA stewards and all the tream owners of F1 besides Ferrari powered cars are “Sky” watchers?

    11. Very simple:
      1º Prove that something illegal has been done:
      The FIA has not been able and will not be able to prove anything
      Can any of the seven teams do it? Strengthen it and move on to the courts and higher levels.
      2nd In the end, if no one can prove that something illegal has been done, Scuderia Ferrari pretty certain reacting very robustly (possibly legally) to any sort of sporting penalty for an unproven offence

      (eventually, demanding a sum of money higher than the values that some teams now believe they can obtain)

    12. “…why the prize pot should not be redistributed in view of the fact that Ferrari had not been able to prove that its car complied with the regulations at all times.”

      So now Ferrari are guilty until proven innocent?
      This Group of Seven are asking for an impossible standard to be met. If they want to take this to court they might find the legal system works a little differently.

      1. That’s the problem. Ferrari are guilty by association now because of the statement.

        You can’t suddenly announce that a trial (you didn’t know was happening in the first place) has occurred and that the judge has reached an undisclosed agreement about an undisclosed issue.

        That just screams poor management and, at worst, wrongdoing that they don’t want to disclose…

      2. in this seven teams we are talking about people like: Horner ( man i can’t stand that guy..) AKA= Cry me river…and as it appear from the article, Toto that has not very nice feeling towards Ferrari at the moment…. my only point is the FIA first should say are the Ferrari Illegal or not … if not FIA shouldn’t release a statement like they did ….. if they are illegal Ferrari should pay … simple as that…. loads of people talking about Ferrari , mafia, and so on….. i’ll be more annoyed at the FIA… than Ferrari.

        1. They did say though that they were unable to prove that the Ferrari engine was legal at all times!!! The rules state it is upto the teams to prove to stewards and technical delegates that the cars are legal.

      3. The rules are that if you can’t demonstrate you comply with the regulations, you’re noncompliant. It’s not an innocent until proven guilty situation.

        1. @Dave Which means that the FIA’s failure to provide a foolproof test for each and every regulation, let alone enough time to do all necessary tests to demonstrate full compliance, means no team can ever be compliant, and therefore no team can ever race.

    13. Balazs Reich
      6th March 2020, 17:25

      If Ferrari is convinced that they have not done anything wrong, why did they agree to make an agreement or a settlement? For what? Thats why it is not fair to bash only FIA while Ferrari is still as death.

      1. @Balazs Reich Because the rules change in 2021 to ban exploiting blatant loopholes (in the FIA’s sole definition of “blatant”). After months of suspicions, Ferrari had incentive to not walk into a 2021 insta-ban, hence the need to find an alternative path.

    14. How hilarious is it that, even when cheating, they still can’t do better than 4th in the WDC standings

    15. Do you really think the FIA is intimidated by “the 7” posturing? LOL and good luck with that. They should have protested the car, the “whistleblower” should have gone straight to the FIA. That’s how it works. Wolff and his dog Marko can howl all they want. As for Liberty, they should know that anything that weakens the teams strengthens their position. Plus, they’re just the commercial rights holder, they’ll want this to end quickly. Next steps? For the teams, the harsh realization that they’re not in charge.

      1. Don’t forget that the concorde agreement still has not been sorted for 2021 or beyond. Without the “Magnificent 7” and a signed concorde agreement, there is no F1 for Liberty to market, there is no need for the FIA to officiate over F1 as there will be only an entry from Ferrari and their clones. Track owners and TV companies wont have a product to entice spectators or viewers.

        Without the concorde agreement the “Magnificent 7” can ride of into the sunset and start their own (probably European based) series with willing the track owners. Call it any Formula that will put bums on seats.

        Another thought is that if Mercedes, Honda and Renault were looking for a reason not to continue in F1, here is a pretty good one.

        F1 is not about who is in charge, all the partners are mutually dependent (highly codependent in fact) upon each other. One cannot function without ALL the other parties being onboard.

        The “Magnificent 7” plus the track owners have more options to develop an alternative race series, Liberty and the FIA not as many.

      2. @Gabe How, exactly, would protesting the car help with challenging poor regulator conduct?

    16. A complete master stroke by LIberty.

      Given that testing indicated that Mercedes pretty much will run away with the championship this year, all other teams will stop developing and focus on next year and they’re facing up to a big chunk of the season will be cancelled they needed something to engage the fans and improve the show.

      So pick up the phone and ask the FIA to announce something incredibly contentious – after all Ross still has clout with both the FIA boss and Ferrari so that there will be a year long saga about it.

      Next… contact Netflix – do you want to buy the rights to this big stoush? You can run it alongside Drive to Survive and call it Who wants to be a F1 lawyer. 22 episodes should cover it.

      Done – the show will go on even if all the tracks are closed and races cancelled.

      OK it’s my attempt at humour – if we can’t laugh at this whole debacle what else can we do except monetise it.

    17. F1 not helping themselves as it was curious not to check VET’s fuel after the issue with LEC’s fuel when F1 was already “investigating” fuel flow chicanery with Ferrari. And then this agreement.
      F1 doesn’t know what Ferrari was/is doing yet the 2nd fuel sensor will prevent it. If F1 doesn’t know what was happening why would the 2nd fuel sensor fix the issue?

      1. @jimfromus Why is that curious? The FIA said at the time that by the point LEC’s fuel discrepancy was issued, there was no time to decide on a penalty for him, let alone complete a check on VET’s car also.

    18. I start by saying that I have no opinion on this whole affair because I do not feel that I have information enough to make one. I just want to answer one argument that keeps popping up: Ferrari must have cheated, otherwise they would not agree to a settlement.
      There is actually another possible reason for their agreeing to this settlement: because proving that they are innocent would cost them more. I am pretty sure that we have seen cases like this before (thou not in F1, probably), so it is not so far fetched. (In fact, one of the ways to get rid of a competitor in business or an inconvenient person is to hit them with a complicated court case with skyrocketing legal costs, not that I am suggesting the Ferrari-FIA trouble to be the case.)
      As far as we know, Ferrari could have settled to avoid being proved cheaters, or they could have settled in order to stop being bothered about it. Actually, I sort of feel that the first is more likely, but I am aware that it is just a feeling, not a knowledge.

    19. I just don’t understand. If Ferrari did nothing illegal, why a confidential agreement had to be used. Why not “We were suspicious that Ferrari was breaching the rules on fuel delivery, we investigated their fuel system, both the mechanical system and the software, and could find no breach of the technical regulations”.

    20. Perhaps a minor point in a major kerfuffle, but think of Gene Haas making a decision on whether or not to sign on for 2021 in a sporting competition that is rife with lack of transparency, favoritism, and an inequitable distribution of cash. Between the expense of F1, the unlikeliness that his team will ever be allowed to advance beyond where it is, and the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus, if I am Gene Haas I am on the phone to Roger Penske. Who needs this BS and the constant scandals? For about 20% of what he’s spending in F1 he can have the best funded Indycar team in that series and be winning races.

    21. AFAIK, Ferrari agreed to show the FIA what they had discovered, fuel flow? thermodynamics? or something else. Ferrari seem to have convinced the FIA that, if what they were revealing was intellectual capital valuable to Ferrari in industry terms, the FIA would have to agree to not disclosing whatever it was as long as Ferrari could prove “intellectual capital” This seems to be what happened.

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