Bill wrote: ↑
Mon Dec 02, 2019 2:20 pm
I know it's not a popular opinion here but that 50 000 fine pretty much clears the air. I said it before the truth will eventually come out. For whatever reason that infringement had been tucked under the rug not questioned or discussed at length.
It's not populair, not because members are considered to act naïve or close their eyes as if nothings happens, definitely Ferrari is sitting in quite a shady mist, but because accusations of cheating come with considerable weight and bagage. I always preach some restraint on that because it is very easy to connect dots when it is not 100% clear the dots are indeed connected.
In the end, it would neither surprise me if Ferrari cheated or if they are swanky clean. Both acts have of cheating and innocence have been proven enough times in F1 to exclude neither.
I can give a bit more information on the 50,000 dollar, because frankly I do find myself that a very lenient punishment and I was wondering why it was not an automatic DSQ. First off, we have to assume Ferrari did not use more than 110kg (+ whatever allowances for pre race running, post race, 1l sample, etc). If they did, the only action the stewards (that is right the stewards as the FIA cannot intervene in the decision making in incidents before appeal) could have taken was DSQ:
30.5 No car is permitted to consume more than 110kg of fuel, from the time at which the signal to start the race is given to the time each car crosses the Line after the end‐of‐race signal has been given. Other than in cases of force majeure (accepted as such by the stewards), any driver exceeding this limit will be disqualified from the race results.
So the discrepancy will not have exceeded the allowed fuel amount by the regulations. So we are speaking about a discrepancy that would not have given an illegal competitive advantage (atleast not on its own, more about that below), but purely about Ferrari misinforming the FIA on the reported amount of fuel in the tank.
So it's not an infringement on the sporting regulations. And it's neither an infringement on the technical regulations (to my own surprise), which would also have led to an automatic disqualification. The Technical Directive has a flaw in my opinion in that regard because it is not a direct clarification of any sporting or technical regulation.
The stewards therefore deemed it be an infringement on the International Sporting Code:
12.1.1.i Failure to follow the instructions of the relevant officials for the safe and orderly conduct of the Event.
This is a bit of a catch all rule, suited where the technical and sporting regulations are not covering this. Again this is surprising and a flaw in the directive given fuel is usually governed both the technical and sporting regulations, and usually any infringement on that would lead to a DSQ under either rule book.
But this is not the case in the Sporting Code. A breach on 12.1.1.i can be penalized by DSQ, but is not required. 12.3 of the ISC mentions a whole pletora of penalties ranging from a reprimand to exclusion of the championship.
I can somewhat understand the decision (emphasis on understand, as I do not agree with it) made to keep at a 50,000 dollar fine. There was no precedence and ultimately Ferrari did not have an advantage of it during the race. Taken that into isolation, a fine seems understandable.
My gripes with this though, is that all other fuel infringements -again covered under both sporting and technical regulations- have always led to a DSQ of the relevant session, even in instances where it was questionable any advantage was gained. This does give inconsistency, even if not governed by the same rulebook.
Second, Ferrari was warned. And they will have made sure to keep enough fuel in the tank at the end of the race to show they were just carrying around dead weight. A grossly excagerated comparison, it would be similar to a cop seeing a burglar sneaking up the porch of a house with lock opening tools and jelling "if you use that on the front door, I will have to arrest you".
Also, and here is why I want to emphasize I am not telling my opinion, but merely making a hypothesis, so this should not be considered by any means as fact or accusation, but if Ferrari is cheating somewhere and deliberately giving the wrong fuel weight to the FIA as part of that, e.g. tampering with the fuel flow sensor for a higher fuel flow and thus requiring more fuel to run, then we are of course in a different ball park again, with Ferrari having a chance to cover it up. Again, I am of the opinion this is not the case and I believe this whole debacle was an accidental error, but I am careful also not exclude the possibility, how unlikely it is for me. Should that have been the case, any incident where a wrongful number was given to the FIA and the result being a DSQ, would be a strong deterrent against using hypothetical illegal practices lying underneath the none-reported fuel weight.
Again, the last paragraph is not fact, it's not an accusation. It's not even my opinion. It's purely a hypothesis. And I would very much like people to adjust to that same objectiveness.