Jean Todt says he put the FIA staff under a lot of pressure to discover the legality of what Ferrari was doing with their engine last season.
The Italian team’s power unit was one of 2019’s biggest controversies, with many suspecting that they had found a loophole in the fuel flow restrictions to increase its power.
This controversy only grew when, after investigating the issue, the FIA announced that they had reached a private settlement with Ferrari.
This angered many teams, who believed the Italian team had simply paid the governing body off to avoid punishment.
However, Todt, the FIA president, claims that he ensured the investigations were fair and thorough.
“I must say myself, I put quite a lot of pressure on our [FIA] teams to make as many controls [tests] as needed,” he told Autosport.
“Saying that, we didn’t need to do that, just because somebody who was a kind of whistleblower is telling us. But we need to make sure that each single team is running their show legal.
“We wanted to go to the top of the problem, so we ran very, very complex verifications to try to understand the problem.”
While they did suspect Ferrari to be in breach of the rules, there was insufficient evidence, and rather than embarking on a lengthy court process, it was instead agreed that the regulations would be changed to ensure it couldn’t happen again.
“Most of the top teams were saying ‘we want to understand’, but they said the most important things is that whatever is understood, the situation will [must] be clear for 2020,” Todt added.
“So we changed the regulations for 2020 where we were sure that there will not be any kind of ambiguity with the regulations.”
“Then when we arrived at the conclusion that we think that what Ferrari did was not legal, which they debated. They said ‘it is legal’.
“So I could have decided to give that to the court of appeal [ and the International Tribunal]. We don’t know what would have been decided by the court of appeal, it may have taken years, which was not in the interest of Formula 1.”