Renault has had car parts impounded following a protest lodged by rival team Racing Point about its brake bias system, one which has been upheld by the FIA and will carry on into next week.
The protest is around Renault’s « pre-set lap distance-dependent brake bias adjustment system » and representatives from both teams visited the stewards after the race in Suzuka. Following that meeting the stewards said the claims were admissible.
As a result, the electronic control unit (ECU) and steering wheel of both Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg’s cars have been impounded pending further investigation.
« Having received a protest from Racing Point against Renault concerning an alleged pre-set lap distance-dependent brake bias adjustment system on cars 3 and 27, the stewards summoned and heard from the team representatives of both teams and a representative of the FIA Technical Department, a statement from the FIA read. « The Stewards determined that the protest met all requirements specified in Article 13 of the International Sporting Code and is, therefore, admissible. This point was agreed to by the team representatives of Renault.
« The FIA Technical Department representative was directed to seal and impound the FIA standard electronic control units and steering wheels of cars 3 and 27 in preparation for conducting a detailed analysis of those pieces. The representative is further directed to conduct a detailed analysis of the hardware, software, and data associated with them and, when complete, provide a written report to the stewards with their findings, to include an assessment that matches those findings against the potential technical infringements detailed in the protest.
« The representative is authorized in the name of the stewards to call upon such outside technical assistance in the conduct of their assessment. When the likely submission date of the assessment can be determined, the FIA Technical Department representative will communicate that to the Chairman of the Stewards so that the next meeting time to assess the claims made in the protest can be scheduled. »
Renault released a statement of their own shortly after.
« Team representatives have met with the stewards of the event at Suzuka, but due to the complexity of the 12-page dossier prepared by SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team, a further meeting will take place at a future date, to be defined, » a Renault statement read. « Renault intends to use this recess to prepare an equally detailed case to rigorously defend its position. »
As things stand, Daniel Ricciardo holds onto sixth place — which he inherited after Charles Leclerc was handed two post-race time penalties — and Nico Hulkenberg keeps 10th.