More drama has unfolded in Formula One, and this time, it involves Renault. After finishing in the points at 6th and 10th, the sport's governing body have disqualified both Renaults from the Japanese Grand Prix. This follows a protest by Racing Point who alleged a “breach of the Sporting and Technical Regulations and the FIA International Sporting Code, relating to a ‘pre-set, automated brake bias system’.”
Despite the claim that the system could be seen via the on-board camera footage that shows the brake balance on the cars changing without any driver input, Renault refutes the allegation. Interestingly enough, the system was deemed legal by racing stewards, and that it was not pre-set nor lap distance-dependent. This did, however, bring a different breach of F1’s Sporting Regulations pertaining to driver aids.
The said rule states that “drivers must drive the car alone and unaided”, and the braking system in question negated the need for drivers to make a number of manual adjustments during a lap, even it wasn’t seen as a substitute for driver skills or reflexes.
“The brake balance adjustment system in questions acts as a driver aid, by saving the driver from having to make a number of adjustments during a lap. The stewards note that there is a clear distinction between this system and one which provides actual feedback control, which would be a substitute for driver skills or reflexes. Nevertheless, it is still an aid and, therefore, contravenes [the regulations],” the race stewards stated.
Renault has been given the right to appeal this decision, but as it stands, their disqualification brings Racing Point's Lance Stroll and Toro Rosso's Daniil Kvyat to ninth and tenth places, respectively. Likewise, Ferrari's Charles Leclerc, Toro Rosso's Pierre Gasly, and Racing Point's Sergio Perez moving up to sixth, seventh and eighth respectively.
With only four races remaining in the calendar, the season has become a battle of mid-field Formula One teams. With the points that they’ve won via Renault’s DQ, both Toro Rosso and Racing Point move to within striking distance of taking fifth place in the Constructors’ Championship. Regardless, this Formula One season may very well still have more excitement, more drama, and hopefully less allegations of illegalities in store for the fans.
With so much going on this year, we can't wait for the second season of Formula 1: Drive to Survive in Netflix.