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7 F1 teams oppose settlement in FIA's Ferrari investigation

PARIS (AP) — Seven Formula One teams co-signed a statement on Wednesday opposing a confidential settlement between Ferrari and governing body FIA following an investigation into the team's engine last season.

McLaren, Mercedes, Racing Point, Red Bull, Renault, Alpha Tauri and Williams released an identical statement. They want “full and proper disclosure” over the months-long investigation, adding “we reserve our rights to seek legal redress, within the FIA's due process and before the competent courts.”

Besides Ferrari, two others teams did not sign the letter. Both Haas and Alfa Romeo use Ferrari engines. The FIA said last week it had concluded "a thorough technical investigation" into Ferrari's 2019 engine and “reached a settlement” with the team regarding whether its engine had exceed its maximum permitted fuel flow or not, which is against the rules.

Questions were raised by teams and drivers as to whether the car's fuel-flow meter was bypassing the regulatory amount of 100 kilograms per hour. They argued that this may have been influencing Ferrari's notably superior speed on long straights, and its run of six straight pole positions.

Teams are not allowed to top up their power by increasing fuel flow beyond the stipulated amount, and must get boosts by energy saving elsewhere on the car. No details of the investigation into Ferrari were given.

The FIA concluded that “the specifics of the agreement remain between the parties" concerning “a number of technical commitments” Ferrari has now agreed to going forward. The vagueness of the conclusion — which did not say whether the engine was legal or not, what the settlement was, or what commitments Ferrari has agreed to — has angered the seven F1 teams.

“We, the undersigned teams, were surprised and shocked by the FIA's statement of Friday 28 February regarding the conclusion of its investigation into the Scuderia Ferrari Formula 1 Power Unit,” the statement read. “After months of investigations, that were undertaken by the FIA only following queries raised by other teams, we strongly object to the FIA reaching a confidential settlement agreement with Ferrari to conclude this matter.”

Prior to the U.S. Grand Prix last November, the FIA responded to a query from Red Bull by issuing a technical directive before the race. When Ferrari dropped off somewhat, Red Bull driver Max Verstappen said in the post-race news conference: “Not surprised, at all, about it. After what came out. So that explains everything."

Verstappen on Wednesday tested the Zandvoort circuit for this year’s Dutch Grand Prix, and was asked afterward about the teams' statement. He didn’t comment on it directly but said: “I think in every sport you want to (have) a level playing field.”

The season-opening Australian GP is in Melbourne on March 15.

Associated Press writer Mike Corder in Zandvoort, Netherlands contributed to this report.

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