The US Grand Prix was animated behind the scenes by a new episode of suspicion around the Ferrari power unit. The case grew after two important events and some actors have more or less attempted to tie, without really knowing today how much they could be.
First of all, there was this Technical Directive sent by the FIA to all teams, following a question asked by Red Bull Racing, and recalling the formal prohibition to circumvent the use of the flowmeter in any way. Then the American weekend saw Ferrari struggling in performance, and his rivals find a decrease in his advantage taken previously in a straight line.
"We had a discussion about the race data, and the speed records appear very different from the last Grands Prix"said Toto Wolff, director of Mercedes. "I obviously do not know if it's due to the Technical Directive or some other problem, because we can not look at what Ferrari did." For its part, the Scuderia justified these figures by a radically different approach to its aerodynamic settings adopted on the Circuit of the Americas.
The tension is raised a notch after the race, when Max Verstappen openly accused Ferrari of cheating during the season, causing Mattia Binotto's annoyance and anger. The latter has also repeated several times in recent weeks that he would welcome a claim brought by a competitor, to demonstrate once and for all that Ferrari's practices are legal.
To date, the step of a claim – which can be filed up to thirty minutes after the arrival of a Grand Prix – has not been crossed by any competitor. In their speech, the main rivals of the Scuderia, however, maintain the pressure, without clearly branding the threat, or directly blame the Italian team. "If someone did what the Technical Directive clarified, then it would be a serious mistake"says Toto Wolff, director of Mercedes. "And with the way the Technical Directive was formulated, we were talking about a serious breach of the regulations, so we are not even talking about gray areas."
At Red Bull Racing, Christian Horner is content to highlight the fact that "the Technical Directive was very clear", and specifies the purpose of the official request to the FIA. "That does not mean that someone was doing anything, but if it did, it would of course be illegal."he adds. "The power unit is an incredibly complex machine, both hardware and software, and the clarifications we asked for were part of the usual back-and-forth between the teams and the FIA. good to get clarification before wasting any effort. "