(Motorsport-Total.com) – The FIA's announcement that the investigation into Ferrari engines had ended was a bombshell last Friday. The message wrestled a big surprise for groups, media and followers – not least because they used the word “settlement”.
Because this indicates that there was a compromise between the two parties, through which Ferrari could get away with impunity. Wrestle also found it difficult to understand that there was also an investigation without a formal notification from the FIA.
We normally expect an investigation in Formula 1 to make waves and takes place before the FIA International Tribunal or the International Court of Appeals. Such events are often triggered by decisions of the race stewards – such as an exclusion or a bid. So something that is difficult not to notice.
The seven non-Ferrari groups have their displeasure about the lack of communication in one Joint assertion made air. It says: “An international sports supervisory authority has the responsibility to act with the highest requirements in terms of leadership, seriousness and transparency.”
“The FIA investigations, which lasted several months, only started after We have strongly protested that the FIA has reached a confidential agreement with Ferrari to conclude this matter, so we are publicly documenting here that we collectively require a holistic and fair disclosure of this matter. “
Judical and Disciplinary principles as basis
So why did this Tumble treated with this secrecy? The procedure is wrestle unusual, but is in the so-called “Judicial and Disciplinary principles” of the FIA, so the judicial and disciplinary order,
It details how an investigation can be handled as a first step behind closed doors before the FIA decides to drop it or to go before the International Tribunal.
The tribunal came for example in June 2013 when Mercedes and Pirelli were in focus due to a “secret” tire test in Barcelona – detached by a bid in Monaco from Ferrari and Red Bull. Mercedes and Pirelli were warned and the crew were excluded from a Younger Driver Take a look at in Silverstone .
In the current tumble, the FIA did not move to the tribunal – for reasons we do not know. However, this is because confidentiality is an important prerequisite for the process, as we explain later.
Rules have been in place since 2010
The legal process based on the tribunal goes back to a meeting of the World Motorsport Council (WMSC) in March 2010 in Bahrain. Jean Todt personally supported a new disciplinary system that, according to the FIA, “ensures the separation between the prosecutor and the judge.” “Fernando is quicker than you” was used. The particulars were in November 2010 published in the revised Judicial and Disciplinary principles.
The chapter “Disciplinary Investigations and Prosecutions” (German: Disciplinary investigations and charges) explains how an investigation can take place. At the beginning, an indictment is defined that will be carried out by the FIA President, currently Jean Todt – unless there is a specific conflict of interest.
The FIA says: “The indictment can either conduct an investigation against an action or an individual under the jurisdiction of the FIA, on suspicion of having committed one of the violations in Article 8.2, on its own initiative or through a request from any interested party. “
Changed into once the FIA can do everything
This article contains a long list of potential violations. In this tumble it is simply an offense “against the statutes and rules of the FIA”. Through an investigation, the prosecution – in other words, Todt – can take the following steps:
a) Appoint an individual to represent or assist in the conduct of the investigation, and any individual empower to lead the investigation.
b) You can ask for assistance from the technical department of the FIA, the commissioners, external inspectors, experts or another competent individual.
c) You can listen to any individual who can provide information and also request any document in any create.
d) It can use rooms for professional and personal matters. In addition, each individual involved must cooperate with the indictment, otherwise there is a risk of punishment.
Even if the investigation takes place in private rooms, particulars of it must be recorded properly. Hearings can be recorded as audio or video and must be dated and then signed by the respondent and the prosecution. If an individual refuses to be interviewed, the prosecution should note this.
The conclusion of the FIA investigation provides two possible outcomes: first to lead the tumble to the International Tribunal – or Not. But there is also a third scenario that has occurred in this tumble: the prosecution can reach an agreement to end the process.
When immunity is granted
The next section consists of a detailed explanation of the immunity of those involved. We do not know if this is true in the Tumble, but it could still be valuable, at least in part, because it was written there.
Immunity is granted under two conditions:
“a) cooperate with the FIA in good faith, telling the whole truth without destroying, falsifying or hiding useful information or evidence.
b) To support the FIA with honest, total and permanent cooperation throughout the process. This includes in particular: giving and repeating statements in the complaint with any request and in any create that the FIA requests, and to remain available to the FIA to answer any questions quickly. “
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However, it must be stated that this immunity can be withdrawn if it turns out that the recipient has not told the truth. The latter cannot contest the decision and could again be punished by violating Article 8.2.
No immunity was mentioned in the assertion last week, but the wording suggests an obvious cooperation. Ferrari may have shown some loopholes, in addition there is the strange reference that the Italians will help in the future with research on emissions and sustainability.
Confidentiality towards third parties
However, the last paragraph of this section is important and explains why the particulars between the two parties remain secret. Because the rule says that all persons involved are confidential to third parties who have nothing to do with the tumble. However, the FIA can make its decision public at any time.
But here the opinions differ: Are they seven Formula 1 groups without Ferrari engines really “third parties that have nothing to do with the tumble”? You should say that to Toto Wolff, Christian Horner and the others who were beaten by Ferrari last year.
It is also important that the FIA CAN make the matter public. She is under no obligation to report that you have reached a conclusion or even that you have conducted an investigation. The FIA could also have announced earlier that an investigation had been initiated – that was not done.
There was an explanation bei Vettel
When it comes to the fact that no particulars have been betrayed, the FIA can always refer to its own paragraph. Nevertheless, there are some examples of investigations that did not make it to the tribunal, in which the FIA nevertheless gave a detailed explanation.
There is, for example, Sebastian Vettel, the 2016 in Mexico via radio adverse comments towards race director Charlie Whiting had drained. After the investigation, there was an assertion in which the FIA said that Vettel had apologized and promised that there would be no repetition of his behavior.
For this reason, the FIA decided not to to bring the matter to the tribunal. Less than a year later, Vettel noticed when he saw Lewis Hamilton in Baku rammed behind the safety automobile . Again, there was a long assertion about Vettel, who apologized, recognized his guilt and did some charitable work.
Next time, Jean Todt would forward the matter directly to the International Tribunal, it was said at that time.
What difference is it to 2020 gives
These were two cases in which the FIA provided detailed explanations, became discussed and why the matter did not go to the International Tribunal. Changed into once in the two Vettel cases but missing in comparison to the current tumble, is the word “settlement” in the FIA assertion.
Excuses and community service to end a tumble and avoid a bigger punishment sounds like an agreement. But the word “settlement” has a special legal meaning. It does not mean that Ferrari has admitted guilt – unlike Vettel did by apologizing.
The rules at least do not say that secrecy is only based on a “settlement” . This difference does not explain why there were no particulars.
What steps will the angry seven groups take next? The FIA has at least already answered. But the story is far from over.