Shortly before the start of the new season, Formula 1 is deeply divided: the trench runs between Ferrari and seven other teams. Scuderia is guilty of tricks, which should be covered up by the FIA.
It was only a short explanation of just 146 words, but you can also use devastating criticism in short texts. “We are surprised and shocked,” said a written declaration from seven Formula 1 racing teams to the FIA world motorsport association. Led by industry leader and serial world champion Mercedes, the teams complain vehemently about a suspicious deal between FIA and Scuderia Ferrari, which was released last Friday by the world association.
It is about the result of an FIA investigation into the Power Unit of Scuderia. Because the “Reds” were suspiciously fast on the straights last season, several competitors had suspected that the Ferrari engine would burn more gasoline than was permitted and the engine would, therefore, achieve higher performance. After the race in Brazil last November the technical commissioners removed and confiscated gasoline systems from the two Ferrari. The investigation is now complete – however, the result is largely kept under lock and key. The functionality of the 2019 suspiciously strong Ferrari drive was analyzed and then “an agreement was reached with the team,” the FIA said. The parties have agreed not to disclose details of this deal.
Because this deal stinks to the sky in the eyes of the cheated competitors, the trouble is now particularly great for the teams, who have been better placed due to the fast Ferrari – consequently more World Cup points and thus millions of bonuses. “After months of investigations by the FIA based only on questions from other teams, we are firmly opposed to the FIA entering into a confidential agreement with Ferrari to settle this matter,” the joint statement said. In addition, the competitors “reserve the right to take legal action”.
Formula 1, Yas Marina Circuit, Abu Dhabi, (picture-alliance / DPA / H. Bratic)
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The size of the anti-Ferrari alliance also shows how unfairly treated the complaining teams feel. The only two racing teams other than Ferrari that did not sign the protest letter are the Ferrari customers Alfa Romeo and Haas, who are supplied with engines by the Italians. The fact that seven out of ten racing teams come together is unusual in the “shark pool” Formula 1, in which everyone – as the Ferrari case proves only too well – is looking for their own advantage. This applies to the racing teams as well as to the drivers.
Toto Wolff: “A huge mess”
“If they really cheated, 10 or 20 million would be far too cheap,” quoted the auto magazine “auto, motor und sport” on its online site, Red Bull Motorsport Director Helmut Marko. “The behavior of the FIA is the real scandal,” Marko is quoted on the website of “LaOla-TV”. “We would have to instruct Christian Horner [Red Bull Racing team principal] to sue for $ 24 million in prize money that would have given us second place in the constructors’ standings if Ferrari had been punished accordingly unbelievable what is written by a settlement. ”
Mercedes team boss Toto Wolff was also beside himself: “The whole thing is a huge mess,” he said. “It is not okay what Ferrari did, but even less how the FIA handles it.”
Australia Melbourne | Formula 1 – Dr. Helmut Marko (Red Bull Motorsport), Toto Wolff (Mercedes AMG F1) (Imago Images / Motorsport Images)
Disappointed by and angry with FIA and Ferrari: Helmut Marko, Toto Wolff and Christian Horner (from left to right)
There are now speculations about the consequences and sanctions. Ferrari could subsequently lose world championship points and thus also second place in the team classification of the previous season, which determines the distribution of the premiums to the racing teams. But nothing is ready yet. There was only one “sanction”: part of the deal with the FIA is that Ferrari should support the world association financially in researching CO2 emissions and developing environmentally friendly fuels. Some kind of covert fine? After all, these are not very cheap projects. At least it is a “punishment” that is not sufficient for the allegedly injured.
An international sports authority has the responsibility to act with the highest standards of leadership, integrity, and transparency, it said in the statement of the seven teams, to which the FIA initially did not respond. It was necessary to disclose the results of the investigation. “We do this in the interest of the fans, the participants and the owners of Formula 1,” emphasizes.
Worse than Corona?
Until a few days ago, the coronavirus seemed to be the biggest problem in Formula 1. The first race will take place on March 15th in Melbourne, the next two Grands Prix in Bahrain (March 22nd) and Vietnam (April 5th). Due to travel and quarantine regulations, there is currently a lot of uncertainty in the Formula 1 team. The fourth race, the Chinese Grand Prix, which should take place in Shanghai in mid-April, has already been canceled.
But now the “engine war” determines what happens. And should it be confirmed in a publication of the results that Ferrari actually cheated and the FIA did not punish a rule violation, it should not be resolved so quickly.