Ferrari, Albert Park, Melbourne, 2020

FIA ‘need Ferrari’s permission’ to reveal details of power unit settlement

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In the round-up: Part of FIA president Jean Todt’s response to seven teams who complained over the handling of the investigation of the legality of Ferrari’s power unit has been revealed.

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Comment of the day

Matteo in Italy, where the Coronavirus has caused a country-wide lockdown, suspects the virus will have a massive effect on the F1 calendar:

I really hope to see this championship going on as scheduled. That would mean that our situation in Italy and what they faced in China are exceptional.

But believe me, if something similar to what’s happening here (I live near Milan and Monza) happens in other countries, prepare to see more and more races cancelled.

The truth is that people are saying “it’s just a flu” on one side and “it’s the apocalypse” on another. It’s neither. The thing is that everything must stop to slow the infection, to keep the rate of infection as slow as possible and to cure and save who’s sick.

We can all continue as normal, but the hospitals simply can’t treat over a certain number of patients and they let them die. Guys, this is what’s actually happening here: since there are not enough beds, doctors and machines for intensive care we’re letting people die. Because we’re doing a massive Denial of Service attack to our health care system.

So to stay in the F1 domain, don’t expect to see just China cancelled this year, as soon as the Circus will return to Europe, other countries could be in our situation. And let’s be clear, as I said before I do really hope that other countries will learn from what we’re living and that maybe that we haven’t been particularly good in managing this issue. I fear the opposite, but hope for it.
Matteo (@M-bagattini)

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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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  • 30 comments on “FIA ‘need Ferrari’s permission’ to reveal details of power unit settlement”

    1. It’s very hard to see how this Ferrari issue can be resolved to the satisfaction of all parties. Hopefully it won’t just go away as there are fundamentals that need clarity if F1 is to maintain its status…. which in itself is also questionable. The Mercedes issue of the so called DAS is a case in point. Mercedes have been very clever in positioning this innovation as being associated with ‘steering’. If i understand this correctly the system is only implemented when the car is travelling in a straight line without any steering alterations or inputs. Usage of the ‘steering’ nomenclature is only a carriage service when the real effect is to alter the attitude of the ‘toe angle’, a change effected via the suspension settings. I understood that this was illegal especially since the ‘parc ferme’ rules would surely kick in?. maybe someone with a better understanding of the system could elaborate further.

      1. But the movement being done is the exact same as the steering movement, it is just moving the wheels in different directions.

        1. So the FIA needs permission to show us their own bank balance and the bungs flowing in… Right…

          1. Okay I didn’t mean to reply to this thread.

      2. 1) Parc Ferme doesn’t apply during the race– it lasts from the beginning of Q3 to the start of the race.
        2) Toe is not, technically, part of the suspension. Camber is, but toe isn’t, because it’s a function of the tie-rod ends, and they have to be able to pivot the tires left and right as part of steering.

        What Mercedes is doing, is they’ve added a second type of motion– instead of both wheels moving parallel to each other, they move counter to each other.

        There’s no reason they can’t use it going into, through, or out of a corner– but it makes more sense to change on the straights, immediately after a corner, and immediately before.

        1. Exactly. DAS is much more closer in principal to McLaren’s 3rd brake pedal in 1998. Making a clever use to adjust something individually where normally it adjusted in tandem. FIA has to create a new rule to ban the 3rd brake pedal.

        2. @grat Beginning of Q1.

      3. I don’t even see the point in comparing DAS with Ferrari’s illegal PU. One is an innovation in clear sight which is taking advantage of a gap in the rules, while the other is is breaking the rules in a manner that is so hidden that even FIA found it difficult to catch them through regular means.

        1. I suspect the only reason Ferrari weren’t caught was because the FIA didn’t use the technical prowess they should have. Maybe the FIA needed to get someone to make special equipment for them so they could actually collect the relevant data in a format that would have shown conclusive proof of cheating, but I don’t think it was exceptionally difficult to have made that equipment. The demodulation technology required to lower the Doppler shifted sound waves down to the audio range, which could have been recorded or sampled by a computer, was once common place in the telecommunications industry until the rise of time division multiplexing. Anyway, the FIA made their agreement with Ferrari, and Ferrari aren’t going to let the release that data.

        2. @todfod What evidence is there of Ferrari having had an illegal PU? ie. More than presumption and / allegation?

      4. Not sure how you got from the technical body FIA, and deal signed by their head Todt, to the toe of Mercedes.
        But if the above answers aren’t helping then you should first look up what ‘toe’ does in a car.

    2. Todt knows how to deal with any problems concerning Ferrari. The last time, I’m aware he got involved, he invited Vettel for nice fireside chat to discuss those couple of taps he made on Lewis Hamilton’s car, that eventually caused the Mercedes to pit for a very long time. As we know, Seb learned a lot from old Jean and has never touched another car since!

      Am I the only one who believes that when it’s necessary to consult the head of the FIA and outside legal help, then the rules cannot have covered the situation at all. Todt has been making up the rules as he goes along, and by signing a confidentially agreement, he thought the whole matter could be brushed under the carpet. We can only guess how many similar agreements have been made over the years, solely to allow Ferrari to cover their tracks when they’ve broken the rules.

      Odd that we haven’t heard a word from Todt over the Coronavirus issue.

      1. @Jon Bee If the situation is as the press release described, then the situation is covered in the regulations – the FIA would have no option to state Ferrari is not guilty of having committed the alleged offences, nor any other they have assessed. Involving the head of the FIA indicates some sort of witch hunt was going on, simply through the FIA’s lack of understanding.

    3. Anthony Blears
      12th March 2020, 1:41

      Great, thoughtful COTD @M-bagattini. Stay safe.

    4. Seriously, do you really believe this: “Am I the only one who believes that … Todt has been making up the rules as he goes along … “? Are you sure Mr Todt has been “making up the rules” “as he goes along”? What evidence do base your belief on?

      Re: “We can only guess how many similar agreements have been made over the years, solely to allow Ferrari to cover their tracks when they’ve broken the rules.” Perhaps some ppl will guess (believe) that agreements were made solely for Ferrari’s benefit. Likewise other ppl will similarly guess that agreements were made solely for “Mercedes ” benefit. Or any other team. But how many of the “believers” will have any evidence *at all* on which they base such belief.

      If any teams had evidence of rules being made up for other teams, they would be screaming out loud about it, pointing to the basis on which they make their claim/s.

      1. @not Shouty

        Have you read the questions the F1 teams put to the FIA. If secret settlements were commonplace, why did they need to ask why this one was? In fact, after asking me to explain what I’d written, you answer it yourself in your last paragraph. The basis of their claims is this very event.

      2. @not Shouty The FIA’s press release is, itself, the evidence that this was a complete mess.

    5. ^^^ my reply (above) was intended for Jon Bee

    6. In regards to the Spanish GP. What would happen if the race is cancelled given that Spain’s contract with F1 expires this year? Would that mean they automatically get a race in the calendar next year?

      1. I am sure it would not be automatically @fer-no65, but provided Catalonia/Barcelona still wants the race, and that they can still muster the fees, I think F1 management would probably want it on next year, especially if this year turns out to be a rather empty calendar.

      2. @fer-no65 I doubt anything would be “automatic”. Maybe the parties involved would be willing to strike a special deal given the circumstances but I don’t think it would be automatic and, most importantly, not guaranteed to happen either.

    7. What a sobering Comment of the Day. F1 seems so trivial at the moment, but it’s also a very welcome distraction… for now.

    8. Re COD,
      Lives will be lost by attending a GP this year & not in any way restricted to just actual attendees.
      FIA, Liberty, teams, promoters & their motley collection of insurers need to get together & bite the bullet: cancel the travelling circus & race at the most controlled tracks with restricted crews, without spectators.

    9. The ferrari settlement is a non issue. The issue is that only after 6 seasons of these PUs, we come to realise the fia isn’t prepared to regulate the competition.

      1. It’s not a non-issue. What the other teams really want to know is whether the FIA have agreed that they could find nothing wrong and therefore Ferrari are able to run the same PU in the same way again. Since the legality of the PU/surrounding systems are in dispute this is a very important point. The terms of the agreement are crucial to the confidence that the rest of the grid has that they are not being cheated if Ferrari start pulling away from cars with DRS again.
        Your second point is absolutely a killer.

    10. Neil (@neilosjames)
      12th March 2020, 7:48

      A very good COTD, @m-bagattini … one that would also make a great comment of the day on countless other forums, Facebook posts, and so on.

      1. It sure is, yeah. Good luck for everyone in that situation all over the world, and let’s try to do our best to avoid overload of health care systems.

        I wish you and your family, and community etc. as much strenght and health to get through @m-bagattini!

    11. Thank you for the kind words people @neilosjames @bascb @unicron2002 and to @keithcollantine for the COTD. Take away something from our experience, and act NOW.

      If I may, here’s the best article I’ve read about the matter:

      1. @m-bagattini I have shared that link to all my family and friends so that I can scare them into their wits and so that they can understand why they should take this more seriously than they currently are. I hope it worked. Every single non-essential visit not made could help. Thank you for sharing.

        I’m not religious, but God bless everyone affected by this.

    12. A very thoughtful COTD. I couldn’t really agree more with it.

      Nigel Geach has a valid point. That indeed could be beneficial for Bahrain.

    Comments are closed.