“We’ve made a statement and the FIA has responded, which confirms the fact it was something not clear, because otherwise it would not [have made] such a settlement. So what’s the next move? We will discuss with the six other teams because it does not really respond to what we ask for.”

The controversy is focused on the mandatory fuel-flow meter that limits fuel to the powertrain at a maximum rate of 100kg per hour. It has been claimed that Ferrari found a way to circumvent the system to increase flow beyond the regulated limit and thus increase power. 

The original FIA statement last Friday said: “The FIA and Scuderia Ferrari have agreed to a number of technical commitments that will improve the monitoring of all Formula 1 power units for forthcoming championship seasons as well as assist the FIA in other regulatory duties in Formula 1 and in its research activities on carbon emissions and sustainable fuels.”

The response from the seven teams this week said: “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 F1.

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

Abiteboul told Autocar: “Clearly, the statement last Friday came as a surprise, and what’s important for us is to try to understand the governance that led to it. Also, while complaining [about] that arrangement between the FIA and Ferrari, not necessarily to change it, we’d like to understand if it is something that would be available for everyone. 

“Also, because it refers to some extra measures that are being taken to police what is going on from the teams’ side, we’d like to make sure we comply. Regulations and access to them should be the same for all participants.”

The second FIA statement issued this week has been met with widespread shock.

The statement said: “Extensive and thorough investigations undertaken during the 2019 season raised suspicions that the Scuderia Ferrari power unit could be considered as not operating within the limits of the FIA regulations at all times.

“The Scuderia Ferrari firmly opposed the suspicions and reiterated that its power unit always operated in compliance with the regulations.

“The FIA was not fully satisfied but decided that further action would not necessarily result in a conclusive case due to the complexity of the matter and the material impossibility to provide the unequivocal evidence of a breach.”

In response to the team’s legal threat, the FIA added that it would “take all necessary action to protect the sport and its role and reputation as regulator of the F1 world championship”.

The new F1 season is due to kick off on 15 March in Melbourne, Australia.


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