The FIA said “no problem”. For Nikolas Tombazis’ men everything was in order, yet Ferrari ended up in the crosshairs of McLaren and Red Bull for the floor that was used in the Pirelli tests which followed the Made in Italy and Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at the Imola circuit.
Both Zak Brown and Christian Horner raised doubts about Ferrari’s behavior and the work of the International Federation.
The American manager, to corroborate his thesis, went back to point to the secret agreement that the Scuderia had reached, paying a very high price in terms of performance, to close the controversy over the engine at the end of 2019, given that no irregularity was proven regarding the power unit system.
The sympathetic Zak has forgotten that in the meantime many things have changed in the FIA, as we have passed from the presidency of Jean Todt to that of Mohammed Ben Sulayem which show very different management ideas.
The “case” was born from the images posted by Mtorsport’s Davide Cavazza who photographed the F1-75 on the second day of testing in Imola, involved alongside Alfa Romeo and AlphaTauri in the development of the Pirelli 2023 F1 tires. In the morning he had shot Cherles Leclerc with the usual floor on the F1-75 car that we had seen since the start of the 2022 Formula 1 season, while in the afternoon Carlos Sainz used a different version that immediately attracted attention because it was very different.
Motorsport.com published the images and the English teams obviously wasted no time looking for when and where the Scuderia had used that specific solution. In Maranello, on the other hand, they remained silent, calm about their work. In fact, an FIA commissioner also takes part in the tyres testing sessions, with the task of verifying the compliance of the cars with the rules. And nothing was contested in the Enzo and Dino Ferrari pits.
“In tire tests – explained Horner – you have to use a fixed specification of the car, and if there is a need to replace a part, it must be older than the one used previously. The common feeling is that Ferrari certainly used a different floor in the afternoon as compared to the floor run during the morning and this one seemed to have some new components. The task of verifying these things is up to the Federation. We don’t want tire tests to become an opportunity to test aerodynamic developments or to improve performance” – the Red Bull boss added.
And here we go again. So the Red Bull doubt is whether the part that appeared under the floor of the F1-75 was “added” to a solution that the Maranello technicians had already put on the track.
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The matter risks turning into a “yellow flag” case, the solution of which is actually quite simple. The contested floor was only used for a short run in FP1 for the 2022 Australian GP. Motorsport’s Giorgio Piola was able to take only images from the rear of the Ferrari which showed a narrower and less resistant central part of the diffuser.
And the Italian journalist was the only one to grasp the new piece but only in the side view, since there was also a sidewalk with an unpublished design on the side. The curious aspect of the story is that there are no other shots because the spy photographers of the other teams had missed the update of Ferrari and whoever published drawings of the narrow diffuser incorrectly copied Giorgio’s excellent work.
The unanswered question is simple: was the component under the floor of the F1-75 in Australia or was it only added to Imola? The FIA has not detected any wrongdoings, but evidently there is no proven evidence, so fantasies are fueled by rival teams, but the case is closed.
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