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Todt agreed controversial deal with Ferrari

NEWS STORY
10/03/2020

As if the coronavirus wasn't giving F1 bosses enough of a headache, as the teams gather in Melbourne for the start of the season, it has been revealed that FIA president, Jean Todt personally agreed the deal which saw the results of the investigation into Ferrari's 2019 engine remain confidential.

In the final moments of pre-season testing, the FIA issued a statement concerning its investigation into the power unit that saw Ferrari enjoy a post-summer break revival until rival teams began questioning its legality.

Rather than clarifying the legality (or not) of the engine, the FIA's statement, with its mention of the "specifics of the agreement" remaining private" between the FIA and Ferrari and that both parties had "reached a settlement" merely clouded the affair and proved to be a red rag to the seven teams not aligned to the Italian outfit who subsequently threatened legal action while questioning the governing body’s lack of transparency.

In response to the seven teams the FIA issued a further statement that basically admitted that the issue was too complex to investigate, while defending the way it had handled the matter. The World Motor Sport Council subsequently congratulated the FIA and its president on how it had dealt with the investigation.

Demanding clarity from the FIA and Formula One Management, the seven teams posed 21 questions relating to the case that they wanted answered, setting a deadline that expired at midnight on Tuesday.

The questions included:

Why is the settlement confidential?

We understand Ferrari have been found to have breached the technical regulations - which regulations and why?

Why has this breach not been made public?

What are the sanctions imposed under the settlement?

Further, since the FIA has not policed this technical incident in a transparent manner, why should the teams continue to put their trust in the FIA to regulate properly the sport from 2021 onwards and continue to enter into a new Concorde Agreement with the FIA, which is currently in negotiation?

Speaking ahead of the deadline, Red Bull consultant, Helmut Marko told Speedweek: "We want to know in detail what was found at Ferrari, because it has been clearly expressed that irregularities were found.

"Only when we have this information can we advise the next steps," he admitted. "The seven teams are of the opinion that in the spirit of the sport, the FIA is obliged to announce the content of the agreement with Ferrari. So far we have not received an answer.

"Our allegations are not directed at another team," he insisted, "but at the technical control of Formula 1 and how irregularities are dealt with by the FIA. May I remind you that McLaren was disqualified in 2007 after the espionage case and had to pay a $100m fine.

"In our letter, the FIA was asked to respond accordingly and we gave a certain deadline. Then we can move on with the story. But as a team, we cannot accept that after an irregularity is detected, this is what happens."

According to the Daily Mail, Todt, who oversaw Ferrari's golden era when Michael Schumacher won five successive titles, tonight responded.

"Three options were available," admits the FIA president, "closing the case, bringing the matter before the International Tribunal or entering into a settlement - and such decisions fall to the president of the FIA, in accordance with the FIA judicial and disciplinary rules.

"The president informed and consulted with several other key FIA officials as well as the Formula One CEO with the objective of building a consensus on how best to address the case.

"He (the president) solicited and received recommendations from the FIA technical, legal and financial teams and also took advice from an external experienced attorney."

Chase Carey also responded, and while the contents of his letter to the teams are not known, it is understood that he and his FOM colleagues played "no part" in the investigation, its findings or the controversial settlement.

Todt, who confirms that the FIA was not "fully satisfied" Ferrari's engine was legal "at all times" last year, also admits that the FIA cannot make details of the settlement public without Ferrari's permission.

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READERS COMMENTS

 

1. Posted by Wokingchap, 11/03/2020 20:22

"@The Edge. Thats an excellent idea.
Also, Charles Leclerc is a fine upright, honest and extremely talented lad, how long can he can stay with 'teamcheat', who are ruining his reputation so badly, i really don't know. He deserves far better."

Rating: Neutral (0)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

2. Posted by The edge, 11/03/2020 17:26

"I honestly think the 7 team’s should just walk away from F1 and start their own series next year now. What’s the point in staying if they can’t trust the FIA or the WMC or F1 group or Ferrari who calls all the shots with its veto. Let them rot together and finally Ferrari can go back to whinging... sorry winning against some f2 teams driving around in last years Ferrari chassis’"

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

3. Posted by The edge, 11/03/2020 17:06

"Well I now I fully understand why Ferrari refuse to allow Toto Wolf to take over from Chase Carrey, obviously they have Jean Todt in their pocket and think that Mercedes would have Toto in theirs. If I were part of the magnificent 7 I would be hiring financial investigators to look for the financial link between Ferrari and Jean

I cannot believe the WMC would allow this And suggest the M7 I’ll bring in the name of motorsport into disrepute, It is quite clearly the other way round and I for one have lost all faith in the FIA"

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

4. Posted by Mambo, 11/03/2020 13:03

"Perhaps Todt should have self-isolated."

Rating: Positive (3)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

5. Posted by Lapps, 11/03/2020 11:11

"So let’s see what we know and what we can surmise.

I don’t think for a second that Pitpass are not one of the ‘Good-guys’. Their track record speaks clearly for itself. Let’s put that aspect to bed.

It seems definite that Ferrari were managing to ‘over fuel’. Apart from the sudden performance increase (and then decrease) remember Charl’s ‘Fuel Declaration’ problem.

It seems likely that this advantage was obtained via a software route rather than a hardware route. As such there was nothing for the FIA to find in their strip down. So how would software circumvent a fuel restrictor? Well, let’s imagine that running your fuel pump at exactly 3200hz would cause a resonance in the Restrictor. Your fuel is still being drawn through the Restrictor, so you are within the letter of the Regulations. The spirit of the Regulations though, not so much!

This sort of scenario would explain how FIA knew they were being circumvented, but couldn’t prove it. This episode will run for a while yet though. Grab your popcorn!

Lapps"

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6. Posted by kenji, 11/03/2020 8:58

"To the editor, It helps to know the background to the relationship between Pitpass and the FOM. For a start it adds context. I have been watching F1 since inception and have observed over such a long time all kinds of variances between the media and the F1 managing structure of the day. I'm equally sure that you have observed the same, even more so given the very place that you occupy in the F1 media. For many many years a very close personal friend was involved with a major telecoms company who in turn were title sponsors of a top winning F1 team. He inhabited the paddock for a very long time and we spoke weekly. The information that he passed on to me was, according to him, common paddock knowledge but never ever appeared in the F1 media was not inconsiderable. I do regret that you have taken offense at my comments but you can see where my thinking lay. My next questions are simply...what is the likelihood of you being able to source those 21 questions and do the teams exhibit the same the same reluctance to communicate with you as the FOM?"

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7. Posted by Editor, 11/03/2020 7:55

"@ Kenji

If we had the 21 questions we would not hesitate to publish them, and I resent your suggestion that we haven't/wouldn't.

Like Chris Sylt, we operate outside the Formula One Management (FOM) bubble, we are seen as 'hostile' and as a result we are not included in media schedules nor do we receive their press releases, they even ignore us when we ask for comment… so as for "agreements".

In its present guise, FOM operates to a policy of "you are either with us or against us", we are seen as being against.

Interestingly, the coronavirus is seeing more sections of the media turn on FOM and it will be hard to get them back on board."

Rating: Positive (7)     Rate comment: Positive | NegativeReport this comment

8. Posted by stackvideo, 11/03/2020 5:56

"@TokyoAussie. "Ferrari must have some new trick that sits right on the boundary between legal and illegal" If this is the case, would it then not be a "grey area" and the FIA could have simply ruled it legal or illegal. I think your on the right track but feel there's a lot more to it. I can only wonder if the FIA threatened Ferrari with lose of points/prize money and in retaliation Ferrari threatened to exercise their power of veto in the future or pull the plug on F1. Will we ever find out?????"

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9. Posted by Max Noble, 11/03/2020 4:29

"@TokyoAussie - agree with your view, I think that is quite close to what has probably happened. And while they have handled the fallout badly, there was probably no other way of moving forward prior to the new season starting..."

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10. Posted by TokyoAussie, 11/03/2020 3:31

"The only thing I can think of currently vis-a-vis this agreement is that Ferrari must have some new trick that sits right on the boundary between legal and illegal, a bit like the double diffuser from a few years ago, and that any statement about it would tip off the other teams as to what that trick is. Talk of a "settlement" implies some form of change on Ferrari's part to maintain legality. Even if that is the case, surely there is a better way of handling it. If it is not the case, then I have no idea as to what the FIA is up to, and the other teams have every right to be suspicious."

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11. Posted by kenji, 11/03/2020 0:43

"The question i have is, why haven't Pitpass published the list of 21 questions posed by the teams to the FIA? Is it because you have no access or is it an agreement not to publish. Those questions would surely go quite a long way to helping fans understand the basis for the inquiry. Secondly, i fail to understand how the FIA can actually legally get away with entering into secret agreements with any team/teams in order to cover up an official inquiry into competitive performance. I certainly hope that the teams do not relent. To my mind Ferrari have done nothing illegal until such time as they can be formally charged. If, as has been suggested, that they are guilty then that supposition can only be supported as pure speculation."

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12. Posted by Pete, 11/03/2020 0:15

"Todt should have recused himself in the investigation and any subsequent decision as he is a Ferrari man through and through. It's like asking Mourinho if he thinks a Spurs player was fouled in the box!!!"

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