FIA race director Michael Masi (photo above) has explained why the fuel issue with Charles Leclerc’s car was not investigated until after the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.
Ferrari was found to have declared an inaccurate amount of fuel in its car to the FIA, with the actual amount being 4.88kg more than the team stated it was going to put in. The discrepancy was reported by FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer around 45 minutes before the race started, but Masi says there was no time for Ferrari to state its case before lights out.
“We have a judicial process to go through that is quite robust, there so the team can be given the opportunity to present its case,” Masi said. “With the report that comes out, from what I understand, it is quite an intensive process that is undertaken to actually do the check that was done and it was submitted at the earliest opportunity.
“Five minutes before pit exit opening or thereabouts there was insufficient time to summon people, listen to them all and hear the case correctly.”
The final starting grid was only published at 1634 local time — 36 minutes before the race start rather than two hours — and Masi says that was due to the FIA analyzing whether any penalty might be required pre-race.
Masi also highlighted how the fuel is measured, explaining why the process can take a long time to carry out.
“All the fuel is done on weight. It’s a random check. The car is weighed, then the fuel is pumped out and (the car) weighed again to compare the difference between the two and see what has been declared in fuel. If there is a difference then they have mis-declared for whatever reason.”
Ferrari was found to have been in contravention of a technical directive and therefore breached the International Sporting Code rather than the technical regulations, leading to a 50,000 euro fine but no race penalty for Leclerc, who finished third.