Ferrari to use new software after cheating allegations
Ferrari has presented the FIA technical commissioner in Monaco with a updated 'energy management' software. It should exclude abuse. There are still doubts about the old version. Has Ferrari tapped more than the allowed 163 hp from the battery?
The battery dispute has its next episode during the Monaco GP. After investigations by the FIA had apparently revealed that Ferrari's energy management was beyond all doubt, Ferrari still had to submit a new software for energy management to the technical commissioners, which should rule out any abuse.
T hat happened on the first day of practice. Now the FIA must examine whether one can actually do anything that is forbidden with the technology used before Monaco and the new, modified upgrade.
Ferrari divides its energy storage, as the only team in the paddock, in two segments. Therefore it has two outputs. This is not punishable as long as it never exceeds the limit of four megajoules of energy per lap and 120 kilowatts (163 bhp) fed into the system by the battery. This is measured with a FIA homologated sensor at the output of the battery. After a tip from Mercedes, the FIA checked performance charts and the batteries in Baku and Barcelona. The allegation was that, under certain conditions, the sensor could be bypassed so that it does not measure the complete output of power.
The competition claims that they have determined a sudden increase in power of 20 bhp at Ferrari, in Baku, during the qualifying session (by GPS measurements), which should result in a three-tenths of a second advantage. In Barcelona, however, Ferrari did not show the same extra power figures on the straights. But everyone in the paddock was warned, since the first battery checks already took place in Baku.
The suspicion was quickly focused on the battery and the smart energy management, which is supposed to deliver more power in phases, without the sensor measuring it. In fact, it is irrelevant if the participant did something illegal. A technique is already illegal if it is possible to do something that is forbidden. The burden of proof that excludes this, lies solely with the team and not with the FIA.
So far, it is still not clear whether Ferrari's battery was theoretically capable of delivering more than the allowed power. However, there seems to be legitimate doubts about it. Regardless of whether it was used or not. The German 'Auto, Motor und Sport' learned, from both the teams and the FIA that the evidence is extremely complicated. Experts of the FIA are still investigating charts from Baku and Barcelona.
Therefore, Ferrari had to react to eliminate these doubts. Since we can assume that the Italians now operate in a safe window, a protest would be pretty pointless. It would probably show that everything is legal.
What has happened in the past can no longer be protested, even if the FIA can not remove any doubts about the old system. The deadline has long expired. There are only two ways to roll up the case again. Either FIA President Jean Todt commissions the FIA's International Court of Appeals to investigate the case. Or a competitor asks Todt to do this.