‘Ferrari engine saga could have been handled better’

Date published: March 12 2020

Sebastian Vettel and Lewis Hamilton media Melbourne 2020

Lewis Hamilton insists his respect for Sebastian Vettel hasn’t been dampened by the Ferrari engine saga but he does feel the FIA could have handled it better.

Last year questions were raised about Ferrari’s power unit and its fuel flow.

According to rivals, Ferrari were circumventing the FIA sensor to exceed the limit thus giving them a welcome power boost.

Ferrari denied any wrongdoing while the FIA issues Technical Directives, and Ferrari lost pace.

The matter was, at least according to Ferrari and the FIA, put to rest earlier this month when they agreed a secret settlement.

Ferrari’s rivals, led by Mercedes, were incensed and wrote to the FIA threatening legal action.

The FIA has yet to release details with president Jean Todt hitting back at their “totally inaccurate and biased fact pattern”.

Hamilton was asked for his thoughts on the matter in the build-up to this weekend’s Australian Grand Prix as he faced the media with Vettel sitting alongside him.

“Between us the respect has continued to grow and that doesn’t change,” he told the media.

“What goes on in the background between teams and the government body is a separate issue.”

But he added: “I think it could have been handled better for sure.

“But I don’t want to add too much to it because it will cause too much trouble.”

As for Vettel, he feels the matter is closed with Ferrari being “cleared” of any wrongdoing by the FIA.

“As far as I understand we (Ferrari) were cleared (by FIA),” he said.

“For me it is very simple, I trust my team to do the right thing within the regulations at all times and I think we all trust the governing body FIA – that’s the answer.

“And for me it doesn’t change the relationship that I have with Lewis, the respect that we share that has grown over the years is untouched.”

Charles Leclerc was also asked his opinion on the engine sage and told Sky Sports that he “trusts” the FIA to do right by all the teams.

He does, however, sort of understand why rival teams aren’t happy.

“I fully trust my team, that’s for sure. And I trust the FIA for making sure it was all OK. So for me, it’s done and now I look to the future.

“Do I understand [their protest]? Yes and no.

“I think they should also trust the FIA for doing their work and I think it’s completely understandable that they don’t explain absolutely everything because there’s a lot of work for us on all the parts, and if you make all of this public then you make all of the work the team has done public.”

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