Date published: March 26 2020
Ex-Formula 1 boss, Bernie Ecclestone, thinks the FIA opened up a big can of worms by publicly announcing an agreement with Ferrari following an investigation into their engine.
The legality of Ferrari’s power unit came under some intense scrutiny as the 2019 season developed and it led to the FIA seizing parts at the end of the campaign for further analysis.
But the investigation only resulted in the FIA and Ferrari coming to a private agreement as the governing body could not comprehensively prove that the Scuderia had cheated.
The end verdict did not sit well with Ferrari’s rivals who felt the investigation was an inadequate one with an unsatisfactory answer.
Mercedes have since called a truce with Ferrari on the engine saga, but the likes of Red Bull are still searching for proper answers as they finished behind the Scuderia in the Constructors’ Championship.
Ecclestone feels the situation was made worse by the FIA after they went public with news of a private agreement with Ferrari but did not disclose any information as to what that agreement actually was.
“I think what the FIA have done, and shouldn’t have done, they came out with a press release saying that they’ve reached an agreement with Ferrari,” Ecclestone told Autocar.
“What does that mean? An agreement for what? Either it was within the regulation but they don’t think it should be allowed, therefore, they just ban it for the future. Otherwise, I don’t understand what agreement you can have.
“You can have an agreement say: ‘Well, you were definitely cheating 100% and there’s not much we can do about it, now, because it’s happened, but we’re going to fine you for that’.”
The current saga with Ferrari reminded Ecclestone of the infamous ‘Spygate’ scandal involving McLaren, which resulted in a record $100m fine.
“There was a team, I believe, which, unfortunately, I got the blame for because I suggested they should be fined $100m,” he added.
“What was the alternative?. At the time, the president of the FIA, Max [Mosley], wanted to chuck them out the championship.
“I said, ‘You’re going to chuck them out for two years.’ The least that they go for. They’re gone for two years or more. Which is really not the way.
“Why don’t we punish them and take away their money that they would otherwise make because of whatever happened. Which is what we did.”