A few days ago, the Renault F1 team saw both their cars disqualified from the Japanese GP. As it turned out, their braking system was outlawed by the FIA, following a complaint from Racing Point. Now, their former driver, Romain Grosjean claimed that it had been used since the 2015 Belgian Grand Prix.
Following the investigation and subsequent disqualification, Renault confessed that the pre-set brake balance adjustment was a driver aid. Team boss Cyril Abiteboul admitted that the device had been used “for a while”, even before 2019.
Grosjean has had some experience with Renault, having driven for them for a long time. He was even there during its Lotus days, before moving to Haas the following year. During the press conference on Thursday, he hinted that he drove with the system since Belgium 2015.
Speaking about the legality of the device at that time, Romain Grosjean said, “Well let’s say that I asked to replicate it later on and they wouldn’t do it. It was good though.”
Racing Point put forward the challenge because the FIA confirmed that it was not allowed to replicate the system.
Abiteboul said Renault had not sought approval from the FIA for the design because it was convinced it was legal given how long it had been on the car.
He also affirmed that it was not a performance-enhancing driver aid, but its purpose was to reduce the driver’s workload.
However, Racing Point driver Lance Stroll thought there will have been a benefit.
“They [the FIA] clearly gave them a penalty because it was an advantage,” he said.
“However, I don’t know the ins and outs of it, or how much they were doing it, or how much lap time it was, how much pace they were finding because of it.”
“But I definitely know that they gave them a penalty for a reason. There is definitely a lot of workload for the driver, changing brake balance throughout a grand prix, and if you can avoid that, it’s definitely helpful.”