Ferrari F1 boss Mattia Binotto claims his team did not purposefully breach a fuel rule at the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix which resulted in a fine for the Reds.
Charles Leclerc’s podium remained under a cloud until almost four hours after the chequered flag, as suspicions about the legality of the Ferrari entered yet another phase.
Prior to the race, the FIA discovered during a random check that the amount of fuel declared by Ferrari did not match the amount that was actually in the tank.
“I believe there have been ten checks this season,” team boss Binotto said. “And there was never anything to complain about. We believe that our measurements were correct. Only one was not conclusive.”
Because the breach was of a technical directive rather than an actual technical regulation, Ferrari escaped with a $50,000 fine rather than a disqualification.
“There were differences in the measurements,” Binotto admitted. “We believe our measurements were correct but we need to find out why there was a difference. I know that we followed our usual procedure.”
But this latest development is bad timing for Ferrari, as the ongoing issue of the car’s legality is sure to now follow the Italian team throughout the winter.
“It’s a topic that I think will be discussed for some time,” Mercedes F1 team boss Toto Wolff agrees. “A lot has been said already – probably more than should have been said.”
Meanwhile, former F1 supremo Bernie Ecclestone defended Ferrari last week, saying cheating accusations have “always” been levelled against innovative teams’ rivals in F1.
The 89-year-old was in Abu Dhabi this past weekend with his former CVC boss Donald Mackenzie, where according to Auto Motor und Sport he defended Ferrari once again, “Ferrari would have to be stupid if they did it like that.
“You don’t play your ace card when the championship is over. You would have done it in the first half of the season in 2020,” added Ecclestone.