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FIA to conduct new, “deeper” random post-race technical checks on F1 cars

2021 F1 season

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The FIA will conduct new, deeper technical inspections of Formula 1 cars following races this year to ensure all teams comply with the regulations.

All cars are already subjected to post-race technical inspection. The new procedure will allow “deeper technical checks” to be carried out, said the FIA.

“While this is a new procedure in this championship, it is routinely carried out in other FIA world championships and competitions,” it added.

Details of the new checks, which will be conducted on cars chosen at random, were revealed in a bulletin issued by the stewards ahead of the final practice session for the Bahrain Grand Prix.

“In order to complete deeper technical checks of the cars in the championship, the technical delegate will routinely and randomly select one car at each event following the race for deeper disassembly, conformity checks and checks of software and systems,” said the statement. “Additional checks may also be carried out on the competitor’s other car.”

“These checks will be in addition to the routine checks carried out by the technical department of the
FIA and reported at the conclusion of each event,” it added.

The FIA anticipates the new checks will take longer than existing procedures, and has therefore decided to issue to final race classification before they are complete.

“The technical delegate will publish his regular report, following which the stewards will publish a ‘Final Classification’ which in accordance with Art[icle] 20 of the International Sporting Code (ISC) will be marked as being ‘Subject to ongoing routine technical checks,” the FIA explained.

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The FIA has the power to seize parts of teams’ cars if they are found not to comply with the rules.

“Should any irregularity be subsequently discovered, the technical delegate will publish a report and the stewards have ordered the technical delegate to take the appropriate steps to safeguard any evidence that may be discovered in these technical checks, including impounding and sealing relevant parts and information.

“Should a stewards’ investigation be necessary, in accordance with Art[icle] 11.9.3.t of the ISC which concerns decisions that must be taken after an event, the stewards may reconvene, or delegate their authority to a subsequent panel of stewards, or to a panel assembled by the FIA for that purpose.”

The FIA faced criticism last year after a reaching a private settlement with Ferrari following an investigation into the legality of its power unit.

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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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7 comments on “FIA to conduct new, “deeper” random post-race technical checks on F1 cars”

  1. Given F1 history, seems a good and needed step. Will of course be tricky when/if they catch irregularities well after everybody went home/switch off the tv, but better than rumours that end up in a belated secret settlement.

    1. On the other hand, if you read this: “the stewards have ordered the technical delegate to take the appropriate steps to safeguard any evidence that may be discovered in these technical checks, including impounding and sealing relevant parts and information”,

      one could also interpret it as the evidence of wrongdoing will be safeguraded. That will infact leave open the opportunity for the offending team to reach a ‘private settlement’ if it so wishes.

      I think this is FIA legitimizing the ‘private settlement’ process.

      Or may be, FIA have already found a few cars with rule violations on Friday and is preparing to find evidence of the same tomorrow.

      1. The FIA has nothing to legitimize with regard to the private settlement because it was already specified in the Article 4 (ii) of its Judicial and Disciplinary Rules (JDR). All the non-Ferrari powered cars protested the agreement and even threatened legal action against the FIA and couldn’t do anything about it. I don’t see how the FIA will be legitimizing such practise now after the storm has already passed.

        On another note, looking at Napoleon AKA Jean Todt and his modus operandi. He’s someone that doesn’t forget in both ways. He can be grateful and resentful depending on the context. Remember how he was blocking Alonso from the joining Ferrari until he quit because the latter broke a verbal agreement to join Ferrari and went with Flavio instead. On the other hand, look at whose running the sport now, Domenicali and Brawn. Sure the FOM is free to sign whoever they see appropriate for the job but they would probably consult the FIA about the people who already worked in the sport.

        According to the experts connected to the sport, the private settlement was more about the FIA and Ferrari reaching a dead end. The FIA was having a real headache figuring out how Ferrari were allegedly bypassing the fuel flow meter. They knew the end result (major fuel flow) but they couldn’t prove it despite having seized PU parts for investigation at the end of the season. Ferrari on the other hand wasn’t prepared to reveal their IP because it involved a third party (Shell) that didn’t wanted to go public.

        Jean Todt, who didn’t quit Ferrari in good terms, said in an interview last year to La Gazetta Dello Sport before the start of the season : “I could have not investigated Ferrari at all. However, I went flat out (sono andato a fondo) “, he said “Ferrari, it was me who punished it”. The result is obvious, Ferrari’s worst season in F1 for 40 years.

      2. On Sky in FP3, Ted talked about how it, according to sources from multiple teams also is linked to the budget cap, with the FIA wanting a closer, deeper look at what’s on/in these cars, and how it changes over the races, perhaps to be able to check veracity of costs declared versus what is visible in the hardware, which is a connection I hadn’t yet made, but which is pretty logical, and smart to, to make the teams be aware they are closely monitored before they think up intricate schemes to circumvent the cap somehow.

  2. I assume that they must be targeting some specific practice from a tip-off to justify the extra expense and possible jeopardy of doing this. Otherwise seems a bit pointless.

    It surely can’t be a result of the Ferrari PU issue since they couldn’t prove it (to the standard required in court of law) after months of investigation.

  3. I’m always surprised that we’ve never had a car found to be illegal on Friday, the team say they don’t have the means to change the infraction, and then either the car races ‘under appeal’ or is just ‘kicked out of the event’. I imagine there is a lot of politics and some gentle “you need to change that for the next round” going on.

    1. @bernasaurus
      Another thing is, most if not all of those irregularities were discovered by teams targeting their rivals. For example :

      – RBR were caught with their flexi wings in the 2014 Abu Dhabi GP and were disqualified from qualy. However Ferrari have been complaining about it since 2010 and in 2011 they have started themselves doing the same thing.
      – Mercedes oil burn was brought to light by RBR in the 2015 Canadian GP. Mercedes themselves blew the whistle in 2017 when Ferrari took it to the next level and subsequently was ordered to remove an auxiliary oil tank in Baku.
      – Racing Point protesting Renault brake bias system and Renault protesting Racing Point brake ducts.
      – Mercedes questioning Ferrari ERS system in 2018 and RBR pointing the FIA to the right direction with regard to Ferrari bypassing fuel flow meter.

      I think what should be done by the FIA is when it finds out illegalities in cars, a proper punishment should be issued straightaway. However, as you’ve mentioned, there are a lot of politics going on behind the scene and the FIA is also known to be operating with limited resources compared to the teams.

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