Valtteri Bottas, Charles Leclerc, Circuit de Catalunya, 2020

Mercedes were “quick with ease” in tests – Vettel

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In the round-up: Sebastian Vettel was impressed by the ease with which Mercedes set fastest times in pre-season testing.

What they say

[smr2020test]Vettel gave his view on which team looked strongest over the six days of testing:

It just looks as if Mercedes is more at ease. Not just for the one lap, which is obviously what people look at, but just in general, just the runs.

I think we also had some runs that were better, some of them were worse so it’s a bit hard to tell. Time of day, track condition then I don’t know what people are doing in the background. Obviously, we tested some stuff that was very good other stuff that wasn’t good so it also has an impact on lap times.

But as I said, probably if you look right now I’d say Mercedes is at the top just because they are every time they go out fairly quick with ease whereas others, I think need to stretch a bit more. But we will see.

Quotes: Dieter Rencken

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Comment of the day

Has the FIA or Ferrari made the biggest error in the handling of the controversial ‘settlement’ between the two?

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.
William Jones

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  • 19 comments on “Mercedes were “quick with ease” in tests – Vettel”

    1. As a Ferrari fan, I think it’s shortsighted to put all the blame on the FIA. Ferrari could have used their influence on the sport as leverage to make the investigations more complicated or to reach a more favourable settlement for them.
      Damning views are not warranted, since we know pretty much nothing.

      1. @carbon_fibre, not sure what you’re trying to say here.
        Is Ferarri also to blame? If so, why? It seems you blame them for not weighing down enough on FIA.

        1. @coldfly I think what @carbon_fibre meant is Ferrari using their political power (the same power that gave them veto right and special prize money payment every year) to blackmail FIA in this matter. Ferrari obviously had a lot more to lose if their name get tarnished by being a proven cheat than whatever reputation FIA lost with the drama following the statement we’ve had now. At least with this situation Ferrari can still claim they never cheat and never been proven cheating.

          1. @sonicslv mind you, essentially arguing that Ferrari could have blackmailed the FIA into a more favourable settlement is not exactly much of a positive statement, is it?

            1. @anon Sorry, I meant damning views against exclusively one side are not warranted.

            2. Yeah, but in this situation Ferrari always has the luxury to deny any unconfirmed rumors about any cheating accusations. Pretty sure any conspiracy theories (this one included) is already expected by both Ferrari and FIA when they decide to go forward with that statement. What else they could expect from the lack of transparency on this case and both parties weirdly not saying a simple statement such as Ferrari didn’t cheat?

    2. The possibilities of Ferrari uncooperating or colluding with the FIA are real. That’s what I’m saying.

    3. I wonder if Carey was taking part in the FIA WMSC meeting (and thus supporting this statement).

      The statement is a bit ambiguous though as many will see FIA’s own communication as ‘undermining the reputation of FIA and the F1 Championship’.

      1. @coldfly indeed – and I guess that’s what the COTD is implying too.

        Ferrari should perhaps have thought better of this settlement, as it clearly would not actually be the last word, though they do not really tend to look beyond their own views or interests.

        However, it is the FIA that agreed to keep the other teams in the dark on whether they can police the fairness of the sport and in doing so brought their own reputation down, and cast doubt on how well the coming budget cap will be policed.

        I also wonder, yes Ferrari is the big dog in F1, but outside of it, Renault, Honda and Mercedes, even in currently difficult conditions, are a lot bigger, so if it would go to court, and they combine their resources, that’s a big fight for F1, which surely isn’t in F1’s best interest.

        Hoping that unlike Ferrari, the others do think of the larger sport seems inherently unfair in itself.

        1. I certainly disagree with cotd’s claim that this is all on FIA. It takes two to tango. FIA would have had nothing to investigate if Ferrari hadn’t done something that brought questions and suspicions to the teams and caused an investigation to begin with.

          Cotd conveniently ignores the one scenario that the FIA seems to be saying in their statement. And it doesn’t make sense to hypothesize that FIA could prove Ferrari’s wrongdoing but knew it wouldn’t stand up in court. If they had proof, then why wouldn’t it stand up in court?

          The questions I have are:
          If FIA are covering up for Ferrari, why wouldn’t they have just stopped their investigation when the season ended and said “nothing to see here”? Or said we have no proof of any wrongdoing on Ferrari’s part, (and it sounds like that would have been true), and they could have ended it there.

          Why did FIA keep investigating this in the off-season if they were trying to cover up for Ferrari?

          If they were more interested in non-transparency and in making this go away, why would they even admit to finding something, but being unable to prove that something? Why would they open themselves up to the very criticism they are getting? Wouldn’t they have just been better off saying they have no proof of any wrongdoing by Ferrari, and leave it at that?

          While I understand the teams’ desire for further clarification, Abiteboul did say they don’t wish to make this a legal matter. I think FIA will clarify with them a little further, but will for the most part stick with what they have said, which is more than they needed to if indeed they were trying to assist Ferrari.

          They continued an investigation, they found a wrongdoing or a loophole or an interpretation that they cannot entirely say Ferrari is wrong on, ie. Ferrari is absolutely convinced they have not breached the rules and perhaps even have something ‘patentable’, FIA cannot say unequivocally they have either, but they agree it is shades of grey, FIA tells them they’re going to introduce a second censor to make the thing Ferrari was doing ineffective anyway.

          FIA didn’t have to admit all this and open themselves up, if they are trying to protect Ferrari. If FIA didn’t have legitimate reasons to take the measures they did, and couldn’t back up their actions with a legit response, they would have taken a different tack. Instead, they have laid it all out there likely knowing they might take it on the chin. I really doubt they would risk the suspicion from the teams and the venom from everyone else, with a blatant coverup such as this might appear without looking beyond why FIA has done and said what they have, which we have to admit is not a usual thing, and therefore must be unique for some reason.

          Personally this has not changed my opinion of the FIA negatively, nor will I try to extrapolate this to mean some incompetence on their part and especially am not going to think this means they ‘can’t police F1’ or ‘can’t police budget caps’ because of this specific fuel flow issue dropped on their lap thanks to Ferrari.

          1. @robbie I thought the ‘blame on FIA’ in thiscase was about how they as the sports authorities failed to act appropriately and muddied the water more than it was already, not that Ferrari were clean, but they are not the rule makers.

            I do not believe FIA are involved in a conspiracy with Ferrari, but they are not showing themselves as a very competent, transparent or especially reliable governor of the sport, especially not if they expected their statement(s) to satisfy the other teams.

            1. @bosyber Fair comment, and I’m not trying to defend FIA to the nth degree here, but I am certainly not exonerating Ferrari in this, for they started it. And I am just questioning why the FIA made the statement they did, took the action they did, when they had to know it would leave questions unanswered and the teams unsatisfied. There had to be reasons.

              But at the same time they did answer some questions. They did keep investigating. They found something suspicious which confirms the teams were right to raise it last year when they noticed a performance jump after the summer break. FIA heeded that and found an ‘irregularity’ (my word not one I am attributing to FIA) so they kept investigating even into the off-season, they couldn’t prove anything and it sounds like Ferrari even admitted to what they were doing, or at least that they were doing something, something they might have actually even been proud of in terms of a technical finding, and it sounds to me like it could not be clearly defined as cheating, so nothing they could literally pin on Ferrari as a pure cheat, but they agreed Ferrari would stop using the device, the software, whatever it was, and the second sensor was added to all pus to ensure this won’t happen again.

              You see I’m just saying maybe they did actually act appropriately if we knew all the details and the legalese that is involved. They may have been lucky to have persuaded Ferrari to stop using their trick given they couldn’t actually prove how Ferrari were doing what they were. Ferrari said ok you can’t prove anything but we’ll stop using our trick, but we want the rights to this trick (makes me think it might be patentable and usable on their road cars) so you can’t tell anybody what we were doing. I don’t think this was a money settlement. I think it was a legal settlement that was the path of least resistance to getting Ferrari to stop what they were doing.

              That’s just my theory because it is not like this happens all the time, and I doubt FIA are incompetent, so I think FIA must have good reasons for doing things as they have in this specific case. I most certainly am not going to doubt FIA’s abilities on all the other aspects of racing they must concern themselves with, just because Ferrari threw them this unique curveball. Given how this perhaps had to play out, it might be the case that FIA was actually very competent in dealing with this issue, when all aspects including legal and financial ones are considered.

              They have gotten Ferrari to stop what they were doing, which is the main thing, and without being able to prove anything exactly that might have been quite an achievement for the FIA.

          2. My personal belief is that the GPS tracking showed Ferrari exceeding the expected acceleration based on mass of car and energy density of Ferrari’s fuel (all of which are data that the FIA has).

            There’s only so much energy in a kg of petrol. Mercedes is (apparently) getting around 50% of that energy in mechanical output. If Ferrari is accelerating in a way that suggests they’re getting significantly more HP than would be expected from 100kg/hr, then that would be a red flag.

            Proving that they’re actually exceeding 100kg/hr in fuel burn would be difficult though, unless the FIA seized an engine that was over-performing. By the time the FIA grabbed a power unit for inspection, Ferrari’s straight-line performance was back to normal.

            I also think that “for the good of the championship”, the FIA was going easier on Ferrari throughout the entire 2019 season. Aside from Canada, the FIA tied themselves in knots trying to give Ferrari the benefit of the doubt if at all possible, so really, it’s the FIA’s mess to deal with, along with a substantial hit to any credibility going forward.

    4. So that isn’t going to be the final-livery after all? I thought it was.

    5. Hopefully Cyril can join the fia after finishing Renault. Abiteboul has a good record 3 teams 3 KO.

      1. I’m not aware of Cyrils team history and maybe I’ve misunderstood your comment but aren’t the fia already doing a perfectly good job of that themselves? Lol

    6. COTD is very good and highlights just how bad the FIA’s strategy on this was. What they do next will leave at least someone unhappy.

    7. Calling it a Crisis “Cell” is going to get the FIA closely watched by the CIA.

    8. How boring would last season have been if Ferrari didn’t cheat?

    Comments are closed.