Sebastian Vettel, Lewis Hamilton, Melbourne, 2020

FIA’s power unit settlement with Ferrari “could have been handled better” – Hamilton

2020 Australian Grand Prix

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Lewis Hamilton says it is important drivers know they are competing on a level playing field, following the FIA’s settlement with Ferrari over its power unit.

The sport’s governing body announced the deal at the end of pre-season testing, admitting it had doubts over the legality of the power unit Ferrari raced in 2019, but not disclosing details of the settlement.

Hamilton’s Mercedes team was one of seven signatories to a letter to the FIA strongly criticising the terms of the deal and demanding clarification of the terms.

Speaking in today’s FIA press conference alongside his Ferrari rival Sebastian Vettel, Hamilton said the row would not affect the relations between the pair.

“Between us, our respect has continued to grow over the years and that doesn’t change,” he said. “I think what goes on in the background between teams and the governing body, it’s a separate issue.”

However Hamilton admitted “things could have been handled better, for sure. But that’s really something that should be directed to Toto [Wolff, team principal].”

“For us athletes, us drivers, you just want to arrive at the races, naturally all the teams are different in their performance, but you want to feel that you’re playing on fair grounds,” Hamilton added. “So that’s the approach that we have and I don’t want to add much more because it’ll just cause more trouble.”

Vettel said he believed Ferrari’s power unit had been “cleared” as far as he was concerned.

“For me it’s very simple. Obviously I trust my team to do the right thing within the regulations at all time. And I think we trust all of us, all drivers, the governing body, as in the FIA, to do their job for all teams on the grid. I think that’s probably the answer.”

“For me it doesn’t change anything in terms of the relationship that I have with other drivers and in particular with Lewis,” he added. “I think the respect that we share, we’ve grown over the years, is untouched and I don’t think it’s at threat.”

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Phil Branagan
Phil Branagan has been a motorsport writer and editor for more than three decades. From his Melbourne base, he has contributed to publications around...
Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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5 comments on “FIA’s power unit settlement with Ferrari “could have been handled better” – Hamilton”

  1. Level playing field, hahaha, good joke Hammy.

    1. He did clarify that cars have differing performance. He just wants all teams working within the same rules.

      It seems that Ferrari may not have been, and even if they were, the way this has been handled is awful.

      1. @sham I think that even quite a few Ferrari fans have admitted that they are not happy with the way that this whole affair has been handled and that it could have been done much better.

        Leaving aside the debate over the final decision, there has still been a significant amount of information that the FIA could and arguably should have presented up front. There was a lack of information about some fairly basic aspects of the investigation, such as who was in charge of the investigation or at what point was a decision made to close the case via a settlement with Ferrari.

        For example, only now are we beginning to find out about Jean Todt taking direct action in this investigation, with the FIA confirming “The president informed and consulted with several other key FIA officials as well as the Formula 1 CEO with the objective of building a consensus on how best to address the case. He solicited and received recommendations from the FIA technical, legal and financial teams and also took advice from an external experienced attorney.”

        Even if you want to argue about the final decision, at the very least the FIA could have done a significantly better job of at least explaining how they conducted the investigation and the thought process they went through. There inevitably would still be disagreement at the end, but the anger is at least in part because of the lack of an explanation as to the process by which the FIA came to its final conclusion.

        @aliced Verstappen has actually been the driver who has made an explicit call for “a level playing field”, with that exact phrase, when he was being interviewed.

    2. @aliced poking your head up to pipe up for a bit before your boy spins his way into oblivion and you go dark on the comments section again? LOL

  2. I hope teams sue FIA, win, and we finally get the truth.

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