FIA rules team collusion on aerodynamic testing not allowed

Formula 1 teams have been told that collusion on aerodynamic testing is not allowed, in a bid to avoid a repeat of the controversy surrounding the Ferrari/Haas relationship.

FIA rules team collusion on aerodynamic testing not allowed
Sebastian Vettel, Ferrari SF15-T
FIA logo
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes AMG F1 W06
Pastor Maldonado, Lotus F1 E23
Esteban Gutiérrez and Gene Haas, driver for Haas F1 Team, presentation
Haas F1 Team headquarters
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF15-T
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W06
Kimi Raikkonen, Scuderia Ferrari
Nico Rosberg, Mercedes AMG F1 W06
Wind tunnel
BMW Sauber wind tunnel
Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari SF15-T
Lotus F1 Racing model in the wind tunnel

Following a request from Mercedes for clarification regarding the rules that limits windtunnel and CFD work, the FIA issued a document on Sunday outlining its views about how relationships work.

And in the eight-page document, it was made clear that the rules intended to prevent such co-operation deals will be rigorously enforced in the future.

“The stewards recommend to the FIA that in future once a potential competitor (as opposed to Official Entry) applies to be a competitor in the FIA Formula One World Championship and this application is accepted, that competitor should be bound by Appendices 6 and 8 (and for that matter any other appropriate sections of the Formula One Sporting and Technical Regulations.),” it said.

Ferrari/Haas in clear

The controversy erupted after concerns that Ferrari has benefited from wind tunnel and CFD testing conducted on behalf of Haas – which was not bound by limits.

The stewards highlighted, however, that according to the evidence submitted to them by Ferrari and Haas, and representations given to them by Mercedes, Red Bull, Williams and Force India, there was no evidence of any wrongdoing in the past.

The FIA said: “Having examined the reports (including audit reports team facilities) provided to us, the Stewards confirm that there is no evidence that competitors have not complied with the requirements of Appendices 6 and 8 as they were interpreted prior to today’s date.”

Rules clampdown

As well as clarifying specifics in the regulations regarding restrictions on what can and cannot be shared between teams, the FIA race stewards outlined areas where it believed the rules would be breached if done by teams in the future.

Teams have been told:

* No employee or consultant of a competitor who is involved in aerodynamic development may pass any information obtained under their own ATR quota to an employee or consultant of another competitor.

* No employee of a competitor who is involved in aerodynamic development, who leaves that company and takes up a similar position with another competitor, may do so without a suitable (or normal) period of “gardening leave” or “isolation”.

* No employee of a competitor who is involved in aerodynamic development, and who leaves that company and takes up a similar position with another competitor, may then return to the original competitor without a suitable (or normal) period of “gardening leave” or “isolation”.

* No employee of a competitor who is involved in aerodynamic development, and who then leaves that company, may pass information obtained under their former employer’s ATR quota to an employee or consultant of another competitor before a suitable (or normal) period of “gardening leave” or “isolation” has elapsed.

* No employee of an external entity who is involved in F1 aerodynamic development may be employed by a competitor, on a permanent or temporary basis, without a suitable (or normal) period of “gardening leave” or “isolation”.

*No employee of a competitor who is involved in aerodynamic development may be seconded to, or temporarily employed by, another competitor unless such secondment or employment is a genuine long term arrangement for the sole purpose of providing the other competitor with technical expertise. Any seconded employee must not then return to the original competitor without a suitable (or normal) period of “gardening leave” or “isolation”. Three months would be considered as a genuine long term arrangement.

* No competitor may acquire aerodynamic surfaces from an external entity (even if such entity claims to have designed them for its own purposes), unless any aerodynamic testing resource used to develop the surfaces is counted within the relevant competitor’s ATR quota.

* Teams sharing a wind tunnel (or any other aerodynamic testing resource as referred to in Appendix 8, including a CFD cluster) must put appropriate procedures in place to avoid any breach of confidentiality or of the general restrictions of Appendix 6 and Appendix 8.

Click here to read the FIA's complete verdict

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