By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
The FIA disqualified both Renault F1 Team drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg from their finishing orders in the Japanese Grand Prix Wednesday due to an illegal brake bias system.
Consequently, Renault lost nine Constructors’ Championship points. With Ricciardo and Hulkenberg being stripped from sixth (eight points) and tenth-place (one point) results. It meant SportPesa Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and Scuderia Toro Rosso’s Danil Kvyat were promoted to the top-10 finishing order.
Stroll’s team were the ones who protested after Suzuka as they deemed Renault breached the Sporting and Technical Regulations and FIA International Sporting code. Claims included Racing Point seeing Renault drivers’ not having driver input on their steering wheels with onboard camera footage showing the brake balance display.
While Renault disputed the claim and examined both the FIA standard electronic control units and steering wheels used by both drivers. The stewards determined that the described control system wasn’t pre-set nor lap distance-dependent.
However, the FIA were dissatisfied of Renault’s breach of the Sporting Regulations regarding driver aids, requiring the driver to drive the car among themselves without aids. The stewards found both Renault drivers being saved from making adjustments during a lap.
Therefore, a disqualification was warranted as Renault now have 68 points instead of 77 which puts them fifth in Constructors’ Championship. Toro Rosso and Racing Point are now six and 10 points behind respectively.
After further consideration, Renault opted out of appealing Thursday and issued the following statement:
“We regret the Stewards’ decision and, in particular, the severity of the sanction applied. In our opinion, the penalty is not proportionate to any benefit the drivers derived, especially when used within the context of a system confirmed fully legal and innovative. It is also inconsistent with previous sanctions for similar breaches, as acknowledged by the Stewards in their decision, but expressed without further argumentation.
“However, since we have no new evidence to bring other than that already produced to demonstrate the legality of our system, we do not wish to invest further time and effort in a sterile debate in front of the International Court of Appeal concerning the subjective appreciation, and therefore sanction, related to an aid that reduces the driver workload without enhancing the performance of the car.
“We have therefore decided not to appeal the Stewards’ decision.
“Formula One will always be an arena for the relentless search for the slightest possible opportunities for competitive advantage. It is what we have always done and will continue to do, albeit with stronger internal processes before innovative solutions are brought on track.”
Now that Renault have put their blemish behind them, their focus shifts onto the 18th round of the Formula One World Championship, taking place at the Autodromo Hermanos Rodriguez in Mexico City for the annual Mexican Grand Prix October 25-27.
Updated 2019 Japanese Grand Prix Results
1 Valtteri Bottas Mercedes 52 1:21’46.755
2 Sebastian Vettel Ferrari 52 1:22’00.098 13.343
3 Lewis Hamilton Mercedes 52 1:22’00.613 13.858
4 Alexander Albon Red Bull/Honda 52 1:22’46.292 59.537
5 Carlos Sainz Jr. McLaren/Renault 52 1:22’55.856 1:09.101
6 Charles Leclerc Ferrari 51 1:21’51.731 1 Lap
7 Pierre Gasly Toro Rosso/Honda 51 1:22’09.795 1 Lap
8 Sergio Pérez Racing Point/Mercedes 51 1:22’10.165 1 Lap
9 Lance Stroll Racing Point/Mercedes 51 1:22’13.400 1 Lap
10 Daniil Kvyat Toro Rosso/Honda 51 1:22’17.115 1 Lap
11 Lando Norris McLaren/Renault 51 1:22’24.504 1 Lap
12 Kimi Räikkönen Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 51 1:22’37.491 1 Lap
13 Romain Grosjean Haas/Ferrari 51 1:22’44.514 1 Lap
14 Antonio Giovinazzi Alfa Romeo/Ferrari 51 1:23’03.072 1 Lap
15 Kevin Magnussen Haas/Ferrari 51 1:23’05.388 1 Lap
16 George Russell Williams/Mercedes 50 1:21:43.978
17 Robert Kubica Williams/Mercedes 50 1:23’11.838 2 Laps
Max Verstappen Red Bull/Honda 14 22’58.020
Daniel Ricciardo Renault 51 1:21’57.458 DQ
Nico Hülkenberg Renault 51 1:22’10.780 DQ