Horner: FIA-Ferrari settlement promotes suspicion

Christian Horner, Mattia Binotto

Ferrari should reveal the particulars of its confidential settlement with the FIA in order to protect the health of Formula 1, says Red Bull boss Christian Horner.

A controversy that dominated F1 headlines before the COVID-19 pandemic took hold, Ferrari’s private agreement with the FIA over allegations it breached the 100kg/hour fuel-flow rate with its 2019 engine was once again under scrutiny on Friday.

Asked about the settlement in the team principal’s press conference, Horner suggested the Scuderia was doing the sport a disservice with its continued refusal to disclose any details.

“Look, it does sit uncomfortably that there is an agreement that has been entered into about the legality and conformity of a car,” he said. “That immediately draws you to think what is in that agreement?

“Now obviously questions have been raised with the FIA; the FIA have said they would be happy to disclose that document but of course they need the clearance from the other signatories so obviously it does nothing but promote suspicion when there are private agreements about legality and conformity so the healthiest thing would be to get it on the table so everybody sees what it comprised of.

“The FIA have said they are willing to do that, it would be great if Ferrari were prepared do the same so it puts it all to bed.”

Sharing the stage with Horner was Mercedes boss Toto Wolff, whose team withdrew their opposition after initially leading calls for transparency. According to Wolff, this was not a strategic ploy, as had been previously suggested.

“We didn’t back off.,” he explained. “We decided in Melbourne that for the start of the season this additional controversy plus Corona starting to get really bad in Italy, was not the opportune moment.

“We are not happy about last year. It has stretched all of us to a point to be competitive against Ferrari where it was difficult to cope and therefore let’s wait and see how the season starts and gets going and we will then reassess for ourselves and probably with the other guys who were upset.”

Pressed for a response in his own press conference, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto reiterated that his team’s request for privacy was entirely legitimate.

“The answer is quite straightforward. First, there was no clear breach of the regulations. Otherwise we would have been disqualified.

“The reason we don’t want to open is simply because whatever we would need to explain is IP, intellectual property to our project, to our power unit and no one in the paddock would be happy to release information on their design and their projects.

“It’s IP, it’s confidential, it’s intellectual property protection and that’s the reason why we are not keen to do it.”