Braking bad: Renault stripped of Japanese points

Riley Riley

Renault has been been stripped of the points it earned in the Japanese Grand a couple of weeks ago.

The French team was disqualified after a protest by Racing Point was upheld.

It means they lose the nine points they scored in Suzuka, where Daniel Ricciardo finished sixth and Nico Hulkenberg tenth.

Racing Point claimed a breach of the Sporting and Technical Regulations and the FIA International Sporting Code, alleging the team had used a pre-set, automated brake bias system.

The operation of the system, they claimed, could be seen via onboard camera footage, with the brake balance display on the Renault drivers’ steering wheels changing without driver input.

Renault disputed the claim and after investigating FIA stewards determined the described control system was not pre-set nor lap distance-dependent as alleged.

The stewards also found that while Renault used ‘innovative solutions to exploit certain ambiguities’, the system was not in breach of the F1 Technical Regulations.

However, Renault were found to have breached F1’s Sporting Regulations relating to driver aids.

F1 rules state the driver must drive the car alone and unaided, and the stewards found that the system meant drivers were saved from making a number of adjustments during a lap, even if it wasn’t a substitute for driver skills or reflexes.

The decision, which Renault has the right to appeal, means that Racing Point’s Lance Stroll and Toro Rosso’s Daniil Kvyat will now be classified ninth and tenth respectively, with Ferrari’s Charles Leclerc, Toro Rosso’s Pierre Gasly, and Racing Point’s Sergio Perez moving up to sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.

Toro Rosso and Racing Point, meanwhile, move to within striking distance of Renault for P5 in the constructors’ standings with four races to go.

In a statement the Renault F1 Team acknowledged the decision of the Stewards.

Despite the FIA concurring with Renault that the system was entirely legal under the FIA Technical Regulations, it was judged the stewards that the system was in breach of the FIA Sporting Regulations regarding driver aid.

However, considering the subjectivity of the qualification of a system as a driver aid and the variability of the associated penalties in recent cases, Renault F1 Team will consider its next course of action within the time frame laid out by the FIA.

Renault’s Daniel Ricciardo

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