Ferrari have been called out by David Coulthard for their “private agreement” with the FIA after the 2019 season as teams wait to discover what sanctions Red Bull will face for their breach of the 2021 budget cap. Max Verstappen won his maiden title for the energy drink giants last season after getting the better of Mercedes star Lewis Hamilton at the season-deciding Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi.
During the 2019 season, Ferrari’s power unit was a cut above those of their rivals, with red car drivers Sebastian Vettel and Charles Leclerc enjoying a power advantage and producing impressive speed on the straights amid better fuel flow than other cars on the track.
With other teams wondering how Ferrari had gained such an advantage, a series of technical directives were sent out throughout the season to clarify what was and wasn’t allowed.
Ferrari chief Mattia Binotto denied any wrongdoing and the team weren’t deemed to have fallen foul of any regulations. But the FIA still found it necessary to reach a “settlement” with the Italian outfit in 2020, which was kept private.
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And Coulthard thinks Ferrari shouldn’t throw mud at Red Bull in light of the 2019 events. “Let’s remember, Ferrari – two or three seasons ago – had a private agreement over some irregularities in their fuel system,” the former F1 star told Channel 4 on Sunday morning. “And we were none the wiser what that actually was – there was a private settlement. So there is a history of governance where it can be done behind closed doors.
“Red Bull are very clear that they feel they haven’t done anything wrong. The FIA clearly feel they’re outside the cost cap in a certain area. What I think is unfair – and I completely get what Christian [Horner] is saying – is that any team saying you’re cheating without firm evidence or a jury having said, ‘yes, you’ve been found to be outside the regulations,’ that’s just unfair.”
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Coulthard also addressed Horner’s claims that children of Red Bull employees are being bullied in the school playground because of “fictitious allegations from other teams.”
“What Christian has mentioned is that even some of the kids of family members at school have had allegations of cheating,” the 51-year-old added. “We get into mental health issues there. So we need to take a step back. We need to let the process take its course, then we’ll find out what the penalties are, if any.”