The Renault team had a reasonably good day in the office at the Japanese Grand Prix 2019. Both cars managed to finish in the points, though it may be contested very soon.
As it turns out, Renault’s steering wheels and Electronic Control Units (ECUs) have been seized by the FIA at Suzuka. The action comes in the wake of a protest from the Racing Point team.
Their protest alleges that Renault breached Formula 1’s sporting and technical regulations, as well as the FIA’s International Sporting Code.
The complaint accuses Renault of implementing a “pre-set lap distance-dependent brake bias adjustment system”. This system was supposedly present on the cars of Nico Hulkenberg and Daniel Ricciardo during the Japanese Grand Prix.
The pair had a dismal time in qualifying on Sunday morning and qualified in 15th and 16th place respectively, but fared much better in the afternoon race.
Ricciardo snatched sixth place following a double penalty for Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, while Hulkenberg also finished in the points in tenth position. That’s helped them firm up their grip on fifth place in the constructors championship.
But Racing Point has reportedly presented a 12-page dossier to the stewards, who conducted a preliminary investigation and met with representatives of both teams as well as one from the FIA technical department.
The stewards determined that there were valid grounds for the complaint, and instructed the FIA technical department representative to seal and impound the ECU of both cars, plus their steering wheels. The ECU is a standardised component developed by the FIA on behalf of the teams.
Now, Renault have responded to Racing Point’s claims, though it is unclear what the consequences could be. In the worst case scenario, the team could be stripped of their points and banned. This could hurt them in their championship battle with McLaren.