Yesterday, the Renault F1 team was thrown out of the Japanese GP standings because of the use of an illegal driving aid and Renault reacts to the decision to disqualify the drivers of Hulkenberg and Ricciardo.
Renault states that it “acknowledges the decision” of the Japanese GP stewards regarding Racing Point’s protest “concerning the legality of Renault F1 Team’s braking system during the Japanese Grand Prix”.
“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,” the statement continued.
“Both Renault cars were disqualified from the Japanese Grand Prix and the team loses the nine 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.”
So what are the consequences of the ruling? Without Ricciardo in 6th place and Hülkenberg in 10th place, the new classification of the Japanese Grand Prix would appear like the table below.
1st Valtteri Bottas
2nd Sebastian Vettel
3rd Lewis Hamilton
4th Alexander Albon
5th Carlos Sainz
6. Charles Leclerc
7th Pierre Gasly
8th Sergio Pérez
9th Lance Stroll
10th Daniil Kvyat
This means that Renault will come under more pressure in the fight for World Championship with McLaren, the French team now stands with 68 points, Toro Rosso-Honda with 62, Racing Point with 58.
The FIA didn’t go into detail about how Renault defended itself. To reveal technical details would mean that the competition would hear about it. Further, the FIA has also not addressed whether there is any suspicion that Renault may have used the system before.
The interesting part of this that sources close to the Racing Point team say that they knew about this system for ‘quite some time’, perhaps as far back as June this year. Clearly the boys in pink have been keep their powder dry for a while.
If it were proved that Renault had previously driven an illegal car, anything would be possible: from a points deduction, a fine to the exclusion of the World Championship, the range of penalties for the rule keepers is considerable. Many will recall the days of mass dampeners and the threats that ensued from that.
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