Formula 1 news: Renault found guilty 'but not too guilty'

Formula 1 news: Renault found guilty 'but not too guilty'

Image va Twitter: @RenaultF1Team

Despite talk of a season-long disqualification, Renault has lost nothing more than its Japanese GP points as the FIA declared the team’s brake balance system “exploited” the rules, but didn’t break them.

The FIA ruled that the system, protested by Racing Point at Suzuka, wasn’t as bad as the rival team said as it was “not pre-set, lap distance-dependent as alleged”.

It did, however, act as a driver aid and that isn’t permitted so Renault is short 10 championship points.

Read: ‘Renault drivers had to know about brake bias system’

Formula 1: Racing Point protested Renault system

In the hours after the Japanese GP, Racing Point handed the FIA a 12-page dossier in which the Silverstone-based team alleged Renault was running an illegal brake bias system.

Racing Point claimed that the Renault system automatically adjusted the brake balance for the drivers depending on where they were out on track.

That is, of course, illegal.

The FIA seized the cars’ Control Electronics as well as the drivers’ steering wheels and spent 10 days examining the parts with explanations from the Renault team.

Guilty but not too guilty

The end result, motorsport’s governing body has ruled that while the system did make life easier for the drivers, it wasn’t the pre-set one that Racing Point had claimed.

The Japanese stewards concluded that although Renault used ‘an innovative solution to exploit certain ambiguities in the Technical Regulations and other supporting documents, their system does not breach any current Technical Regulation.’

They did, however, declare that it was still a driver aid.

“The brake balance adjustment system in questions acts as a driver aid, by saving the driver from having to make a number of adjustments during a lap,” said the stewards.

“The stewards note that there is a clear distinction between this system and one which provides actual feedback control, which would be a substitute for driver skills or reflexes.

“Nevertheless, it is still an aid and, therefore, contravenes [the regulations].”

As a result, Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg have been stripped of their sixth and ninth place finishes costing the team 10 championship points.

Renault on ‘subjectivity’ of system

Renault has acknowledged the FIA’s ruling, highlighting the “entirely legal” part in the face of what could have been a huge cheating scandal.

The team has yet to decide whether to appeal the decision.

They have until Thursday 10:00am local time in Mexico to inform the FIA of their decision.

“Despite the FIA concurring with Renault that the system was entirely legal under the FIA technical regulations, it was judged by the stewards that the system was in breach of the FIA sporting regulations regarding driver aid,” a Renault statement read.

“Both Renault cars were disqualified from the Japanese Grand Prix and the team loses the points scored.

“However, considering the subjectivity of the qualification of a system as a driver aid and the variability of the associated penalties in recent cases, Renault F1 Team will consider its next course of action within the timeframe laid out by the FIA.”

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