The FIA has hit back at demands from seven Formula 1 teams that it disclose details of its settlement with Ferrari over its power unit in 2019, but admits it was not fully satisfied the Italian team’s power unit usage was legal.
A statement last week revealed the FIA had reached an agreement with Ferrari – the terms of which would remain confidential – following “thorough technical investigations” into the operations of its power unit. The seven non-Ferrari-powered teams – Mercedes, Red Bull, McLaren, Renault, AlphaTauri, Racing Point and Williams – all signed a joint statement on Wednesday calling for “full and proper disclosure” from the FIA, and threatening legal action if it didn’t feel teams are being treated fairly and equally.
On Thursday, the FIA responded with a detailed statement of its own, defending its right to enter into such an agreement because it felt it would be impossible to secure “unequivocal evidence of a breach” of regulations, despite doubting the legality of Ferrari’s power unit at times last year.
“The FIA has conducted detailed technical analysis on the Scuderia Ferrari Power Unit as it is entitled to do for any competitor in the FIA Formula One World Championship,” the FIA statement read.
“The extensive and thorough investigations undertaken during the 2019 season raised suspicions that the Scuderia Ferrari PU 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 PU 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.
“To avoid the negative consequences that a long litigation would entail especially in light of the uncertainty of the outcome of such litigations and in the best interest of the Championship and of its stakeholders, the FIA, in compliance with Article 4 (ii) of its Judicial and Disciplinary Rules (JDR), decided to enter into an effective and dissuasive settlement agreement with Ferrari to terminate the proceedings.
“This type of agreement is a legal tool recognized as an essential component of any disciplinary system and is used by many public authorities and other sport federations in the handling of disputes.
“The confidentiality of the terms of the settlement agreement is provided for by Article 4 (vi) of the JDR.
“The FIA will take all necessary action to protect the sport and its role and reputation as regulator of the FIA Formula One World Championship.”