Seven Formula 1 teams – those not powered by Ferrari engines – released a joint statement on Wednesday threatening legal action against the FIA over a private settlement it reached with Ferrari.
On the final day of pre-season testing, the governing body released a statement saying it had concluded an investigation into “the operation of the Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 Power Unit”, following rivals claims that the team might be flouting the rules during the latter races of the 2019 season.
Following F1’s summer break, Ferrari arrived with a power unit upgrade and went on to deliver six consecutive pole positions, leading to rivals to insinuate that the manufacturer was bending the regulations, amid claims that the fuel flow sensor was being tricked, enabling more fuel to be delivered to the power unit.
The team was then penalised at the Abu Dhabi season finale when Ferrari was hit with a €50,000 fine after the team wrongly declared how much fuel was aboard Charles Leclerc’s car, prompting claims the two were related.
The power unit rules have since been revised for 2020, requiring teams to add a second fuel flow sensor to their power unit and some would suggest this has had an impact on Ferrari’s performance during pre-season testing.
The details of the FIA’s investigation have been kept private, prompting rivals Mercedes, McLaren, Red Bull, AphaTauri, Renault, Racing Point, and Williams to issue a joint statement saying they are “surprised and shocked” and have demanded the FIA be transparent on the matter, threatening legal action if necessary.
“We, the undersigned teams, were surprised and shocked by the FIA’s statement of Friday 28 February regarding the conclusion of its investigation into the Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 Power Unit.
“An international sporting regulator has the responsibility to act with the highest standards of governance, integrity and transparency.
“After months of investigations that were undertaken by the FIA only following queries raised by other teams, we strongly object to the FIA reaching a confidential settlement agreement with Ferrari to conclude this matter.
“Therefore, we hereby state publicly our shared commitment to pursue full and proper disclosure in this matter, to ensure that our sport treats all competitors fairly and equally. We do so on behalf of the fans, the participants and the stakeholders of Formula One.
“In addition, we reserve our rights to seek legal redress, within the FIA’s due process and before the competent courts.”
McLaren Racing Limited
Mercedes-Benz Grand Prix Limited
Racing Point UK Limited
Red Bull Racing Limited
Renault Sport Racing Limited
Scuderia Alpha Tauri S.p.A.
Williams Grand Prix Engineering Limited
The only teams not to sign the statement were Ferrari and its customer teams Haas and Alfa Romeo.