Renault have opted not to appeal against the disqualification of both Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg from the results of the Japanese GP – despite criticising the FIA’s “inconsistent” ‘driver aid’ penalty.
Ricciardo and Hulkenberg, who finished sixth and 10th respectively in the October 13 race, were disqualified from the final classification following a Racing Point protest into Renault’s brake bias system, which was alleged to give their drivers an advantage.
Although the FIA stated that the system – a button mounted on the steering wheel – was not in breach of the technical regulations, they ruled that it was still a driver aid and Renault were stripped of their nine points.
Renault had until Thursday to appeal the verdict but have decided against it as they had no new evidence to present – although they criticised the punishment and claimed it was “inconsistent with previous sanctions for similar breaches”.
“We regret the Stewards’ decision and, in particular, the severity of the sanction applied,” a team statement read. “In our opinion, the penalty is not proportionate to any benefit the drivers derived, especially when used within the context of a system confirmed fully legal and innovative.
“It is also inconsistent with previous sanctions for similar breaches, as acknowledged by the Stewards in their decision, but expressed without further argumentation.
“However, since we have no new evidence to bring other than that already produced to demonstrate the legality of our system, we do not wish to invest further time and effort in a sterile debate in front of the International Court of Appeal concerning the subjective appreciation, and therefore sanction, related to an aid that reduces the driver workload without enhancing the performance of the car.
“We have therefore decided not to appeal the Stewards’ decision.”
Lance Stroll and Daniil Kvyat will now be classified in ninth and 10th respectively from the Japanese GP, while Charles Leclerc, Pierre Gasly and Sergio Perez move up to sixth, seventh and eighth.
In their ruling from Thursday, the FIA’s technical department stated that the brake balance adjustment system acted “as a driver aid, by saving the driver from having to make a number of adjustments during a lap”.
They noted that there is a “clear distinction” between the system and one “which provides actual feedback control, which could be a substitute for driver skills or reflexes – but that it was “still an aid” and contravenes sporting regulations.
Although unhappy with the ruling, Renault said it will change its internal procedures to prevent a repeat of the disqualification which cost them ground in the race for fourth with McLaren.
“Formula One will always be an arena for the relentless search for the slightest possible opportunities for competitive advantage,” the French team’s statement continued.