Todt slams 'defamatory' F1 teams over FIA/Ferrari settlement

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More details have emerged about a letter sent from FIA president Jean Todt to the seven Formula 1 teams questioning the governing body's settlement with Ferrari.

As pre-season testing concluded in Barcelona at the end of last month, the FIA announced a private arrangement had been reached with the Italian team following a technical investigation into their engine from last season.

Unsurprisingly, this angered all the teams with no links to Maranello, who have called for clarity and assurances over what the settlement entailed.

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It has now been confirmed that Todt himself was responsible for the final outcome, with the FIA unable to decisively conclude whether Ferrari's power unit was illegal or not, this despite suspicions it was exceeding the permitted fuel flow limit by tricking the sensor in the car.

But as those seven teams continue their pursuit for answers, the former Ferrari boss has slammed their approach.

“Building on a totally inaccurate and biased fact pattern, not only do you challenge the decision of the FIA, you openly question the integrity of the Federation and its representatives, suggesting fraudulent collusion between the FIA and Scuderia Ferrari,” Todt was quoted by the Daily Mail.

“Your attitude goes well beyond a legitimate request for further clarification, which would have been welcomed by the FIA. It is a source of damage to the FIA F1 World Championship by itself.

“The FIA strongly rejects and denies your allegations. Teams thoughtlessly brought extremely serious charges against the FIA and key officials, notably the president, which are injurious and defamatory.”

Clearly such a response suggests this matter has a long way to run yet, with possible legal proceedings not ruled out the seven teams headed by Mercedes.

Meanwhile, asked about the situation in Melbourne, Max Verstappen, who notably angered Ferrari by accusing them of cheating at last year's US GP, was pragmatic.

“I leave it up to the teams," the Red Bull driver told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“For everyone, I think it’s important for us to have a level playing field, that’s what we all want, that’s all I can say about it.

“I think they [governing body FIA] in the past have been making the right decisions so let’s see what the teams and the FIA come up with.”