Shady Engine Settlement Between Ferrari and FIA Sparks Legal Threats by Other F1 Teams

Seven of the series' 10 constructors penned their intent in reaction.

Formula 1’s dominant team Mercedes-AMG found itself unexpectedly challenged in the first half of the 2019 season by Scuderia Ferrari, whose cars accelerated like nothing else on track. Unable to explain where Ferrari found its burst of power, competitors called shenanigans and pressured the FIA to investigate the team whose grapefruit-scented fuel, fuel management, and hybrid system were all at one point or another suspected to be the source of the extra power. The FIA eventually agreed to probe Ferrari and this past Friday, it released the results of its technical investigation, which sent rival F1 teams into an uproar.

The FIA’s brief release on the investigation declared only that it had “reached a settlement” with Ferrari, one whose details will “remain between the parties.” The fact that anything needed settling in the first place “surprised and shocked” Ferrari’s competitors, seven of whom published an open letter calling for the FIA to publish the results of its investigation on Wednesday.

“An international sporting regulator has the responsibility to act with the highest standards of governance, integrity and transparency,” said the letter, which was cosigned by every team but the Scuderia and its engine customers Alfa Romeo and Haas.

“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 1,” the letter continued. “In addition, we reserve our rights to seek legal redress, within the FIA’s due process and before the competent courts.”

At this point, it’s unclear what direction this storyline will take next as Ferrari’s rivals push for answers. The Italian team has already admitted its power unit for the 2020 season doesn’t seem as strong as last year’s, raising questions amongst competitors that this may be tied to details of the currently-classified settlement.

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