FIA reportedly takes action over Ferrari fuel system

The FIA appears to have launched an investigation into Ferrari’s fuel system, and is reported to have seized components used by the team at the Brazilian Grand Prix.

According to Auto Motor und Sport’s Tobi Grüner, “a thorough investigation of the parts will be conducted in the FIA laboratories.”

It’s believed that the seized components include “parts of the fuel system of Ferrari” and in addition parts from “one Ferrari customer and one non-Ferrari”.

It comes just after the team had appeared to be given a clean bill of health after being investigated by the governing body as a result of questions raised by rival teams.

Although no official protest was ever lodged, there had been some pointed queries from other teams about how Ferrari had achieved such a big boost in straight line speed since the summer break.

Red Bull suggested three possibilities to the FIA involving increased flow rates and asked whether they would be considered within the rules, which resulted in two technical directives being issued to clarify the situation.

Mercedes boss Toto Wolff told Autosport at the time that: “If somebody was doing what the technical directive clarified, it would have been foul play,”

The officials determined that Ferrari had not in fact broken any of the rules highlighted in Red Bull’s enquiry. But even so, doubts have remained over exactly how the Italian team has pulled off its mid-season leap in performance.

Reports that the FIA has seized parts of the fuel system for laboratory testing would constitute a significant escalation of the official enquiry into the SF90.

However it does not appear to have been triggered by a protest – official or otherwise – from another team. Both Red Bull and Mercedes had both said they wouldn’t be raising the matter again at this point of the season.

It may be that the FIA simply wants to stamp out once and for all any lingering suggestion of cheating by carrying out its own in-depth and more wide-ranging investigation without waiting for individual specific protests.

After a string of six pole positions from Belgium to Mexico leading to three wins for the team, Ferrari hasn’t topped qualifying or won a race since the technical directives were issued.

Sebastian Vettel started from second place in Brazil and Charles Leclerc was fourth fastest in qualifying, but neither driver finished the race after the pair made contact and were forced to retire with six laps remaining.

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F1 bosses seeking solutions to qualifying congestion

Formula 1 bosses are to meet next week to discuss ways of avoiding the events that led to an embarrassing finish to qualifying for the Italian Grand Prix last Saturday.

The situation was variously described by participants and the press as ‘messy’, ‘a shambles’ and ‘farcical’ after all but two drivers failed to start their final flying laps in time, after being held up on their out laps seeking a tow from cars ahead.

Nico Hulkenberg, Carlos Sainz and Lance Stroll were all given reprimands for driving unnecessarily slowly. The Renault driver was also investigated by the race stewards for cutting the first chicane.

Now F1 race director Michael Masi is due to meet with team principals in Singapore next week before the next Grand Prix on the calendar, to see what can be done to stop a recurrence in future.

However Masi warned that it would not be easy to find a solution for the situation.

“I think everyone in the room, sporting directors and drivers, acknowledged that there is not a simple regulatory fix for it,” he told “I don’t know if frustration is the right word but it’s something we need to look at in more detail.”

Masi added that he didn’t blame the drivers, since it was the nature of the sport for everyone to seek the most competitive advantage that they could find.

“At the end of the day they are all elite sportsmen trying to get the maximum out of it.

“We can all talk about gentleman’s agreements and the rest of it, but the facts are, we can all acknowledge once the visor comes down they are all out there to do their best.”

He revealed that the potential for problems at Monza had already been foreseen by teams, who discussed the scenario the previous week at Spa.

“We will have a more in-depth discussion in Singapore,” he continued. “A few of the teams have already come up with simulations and ideas of how that could possibly be rectified.

“It is in everyone’s best interests,” he added.

Masi said that the advance in technology over the last decade might help the sport develop a new approach to the issue.

“Technology has evolved. We are very fortunate at a Formula 1 Grand Prix in that we have a whole lot of different angles of cameras, telemetry, data, radio: every pretty much imaginable input.

“Things have really moved on and attitudes have changed,” he explained. “Looking at it even three years ago, there was a standard penalty: it was a drive through effectively for everything.

“We have evolved as a sport as a whole,” he added.

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