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Ferrari reacts to Verstappen's cheat claim

NEWS STORY
04/11/2019

In the moments after the United States Grand Prix, asked about the poor performance from Ferrari, which saw Charles Leclerc finish fourth, 52s behind race-winner Valtteri Bottas, Max Verstappen told Dutch TV: "That's what happens when you stop cheating, of course...

"They had a good look at it," he added, "so now we have to keep a close eye on it."

While Sebastian Vettel missed out on pole by just twelve-thousandths of a second, it was noticeable that the power advantage enjoyed by the Italian team in recent races appeared to have faded.

Amidst speculation in recent weeks that the Italian team was exploiting a loophole in the regulations, at the beginning of the Austin weekend the FIA sent out a technical directive clarifying the rules on fuel-flow.

Consequently, when Ferrari's power advantage subsequently appeared to fade, the FIA's move having been prompted by an enquiry from Red Bull, it was widely felt that perhaps the Italian team’s progress had been stymied.

In the post-race press conference, Verstappen raised the issue again.

Asked about Ferrari's poor performance, and if he was surprised, Verstappen said: "Not surprised at all, after what came out. So that explains everything.

"What came out?" asked Bottas

"The piece of paper," said the Dutchman.

"I haven't seen it," insisted the Finn, who was then asked, if he was surprised. "Clearly!" he replied.

"Actually, I am," he added. "Because I haven't seen that piece of paper. I look forward to seeing it. But yeah, it was crazy. Since the beginning of the race they were far away - but Red Bull was really strong today, as they've been now everywhere lately. So... yep.

Mattia Binotto was quick to react to the comments.

"I read and I heard a lot of comments this weekend about a technical directive and the impact on our cars," he said. "I heard comments at the end of the race which I feel very disappointed by.

"These type of comments I feel are completely wrong," he continued. "It's not good for the sport and I think everybody should be a bit more cautious."

Asked if there had been any changes following the technical directive, he said: "Nothing at all."

"I think it's a joke to be completely honest," added Leclerc, when asked about Verstappen's comments. "He has no clue. He's not in the team.

"We know exactly what we are doing and I don't know why he's speaking, he doesn't know anything about us."

Claiming that his team hasn't even looked at the directive in detal, Binotto said: "Honestly, we will look through the technical directive, we have not done it this weekend in detail.

"We've seen, I think it's number 35 of the season," he added. "It's a process where teams may ask clarification to the FIA and the FIA is replying. Will it have more of an impact in the race or qualifying, I don't know. I am not able to answer you.

Referring to his team's poor performance, he said: "It's true that we were not gaining on the straight as much as in the past races, but true as well that I think we matched our competitors in cornering, at least in qualifying.

"The trade-off between grip-limited and power-limited has been moved this weekend as a test on our side," he added. "We were competitive in qualifying and now there is something in the race we need to understand and then see what's best for the next races in terms of the trade-off."

"The power unit is an incredibly complex piece of machinery," said Christian Horner, "both from a hardware and software perspective.

"The clarification we requested was standard stuff that goes backwards and forwards continually between the teams and the FIA. It's always good to get clarity before wasting effort.

"I think the technical directive was very clear. That's not to say anybody was doing anything, but if they were it would obviously be illegal."

"We just had a discussion about the data from the race and the speed trace looks totally different to the last few races," said Toto Wolff of the Ferraris. "But whether it's down to the technical directive or down to another issue, I honestly don't know as we can't look into what Ferrari has done."

Check out our Sunday gallery from Austin, here.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Wokingchap, 08/11/2019 11:41

"I agree with Max...a brave statement. "

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by Stitch431, 05/11/2019 9:48

"Here is a more funded reply by Max's dad Jos Verstappen, written on his BLOG and on GP today NL:

Jos Verstappen: "I thought 'oh no', but I do understand Max's statements"

Published on GP today nl, Nov. 05, 2019, 08:25 By Bjorn Smit

After the United States Grand Prix, Max Verstappen fiercely defeated Ferrari. Although Jos Verstappen understands that on the one hand, he slightly questioned his son's action.

Verstappen junior finished on the podium in the United States for the first time since the race in Singapore: he finished third. At the end of the race, the Red Bull Racing driver was asked for an explanation as to why Ferrari could not come along well this weekend. "You get that if you have to stop cheating," said Verstappen. Father Jos looked at it with sad eyes, although he did understand the statement.

"I thought 'oh no', but on the other hand, I understand Max. He is very driven, he wants to win. He is in pole position for the summer holidays and has won two games. They will come back after the summer break and he just has no chance against Ferrari. This weekend there was no difference, "said Verstappen senior at Crashen in the Kitchen.

"Of course you never know exactly what other teams are doing and what is going on, but what we can see in the data is where we are faster and where not. What turned out this weekend is that we were only three to three and a half tenths slower on the straight During the previous races that difference was between seven and nine-tenths and sometimes much more. "

"In the first sector at Spa we were six to seven-tenths short and there was no gap in the last race. We don't know what they do or don't do, but the fact is that they were now less fast. I think that's what Max meant in his statement. It sounds very loud of course, but you can't prove what they actually do. "
However, Verstappen Sr. does not believe Ferrari's statement

Ferrari stated after the race weekend at the Circuit of the Americas that the smaller difference on the straight lines would have to do with choosing a different setting. Mattia Binotto stated that Ferrari normally always opts for less wing and more top speed, but in the US they opted for more wing and less top speed. Jos Verstappen does not seem to believe that completely.

"Ferrari always has the most wing of them all, so I don't think that's why. Everyone knows the wings of each other, Ferrari always has the Monaco wing on it and we don't. Yet we are much slower. We can't say that they cheat, only with what came out this weekend. It is a coincidence that they are slower on the straight. ""

Rating: Positive (1)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

3. Posted by TokyoAussie, 05/11/2019 3:24

"This whole fuel-flow-rate-gate is one of my pet peeves. Different fuel flow rates are one of the ways in which cars could pass each other legitimately. Cars already have a fuel limit. If driver A wants to use a higher fuel rate during the race to pass, let him. It is his responsibility to not run out of fuel by the end. Why have artificial passing generators (i.e. DRS) while forbidding another perfectly sensible way of spicing up the racing?"

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4. Posted by Stitch431, 04/11/2019 10:35

"I just read a comment from Masi that he did not know if anyone had been cheating ... He is the one that should direct this question to the FIA. Oh, wait! the guy responsible for that (Tombazis), recently has worked for Ferrari ..."

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