Ferrari team boss Mattia Binotto reportedly confronted Christian Horner team principal after last Sunday’s US Grand Prix, amid cheating allegations leveled at the Italian outfit. And the tension between the two men was apparently palpable.
Red Bull initiated an inquiry with the FIA, seeking clarification over a potential ploy that would allow an engine to increase its fuel flow while meeting legal requirements.
F1’s governing body issued a technical directive to teams on Saturday morning in Austin, confirming that the theoretical scheme outlined by Red Bull would violate the technical rules.
The query clearly targeted Ferrari, whose surge in engine performance after F1’s summer break quickly generated suspicions several teams.
After Ferrari’s low-key performance in Austin, Red Bull’s Max Verstappen said the Italian outfit’s sudden dip in form was unsurprising, given that it was no longer allowed to “cheat”.
The comment, coupled with Red Bull’s inquiry, did not go down well with Binotto who, according to Spanish MotorLat reported Yhacbec Lopez.
The Ferrari chief waited until Horner had finished a media conference with the British press to confront the Red Bull boss and give him a piece of his mind.
“Mattia had gone to look only for Horner and he demonstrated why he is a leader,” wrote Lopez.
“He spoke firmly with Horner and there were complaints, what I managed to hear was a warning about legal actions.
“Horner explained that he only shared his opinions and Mattia replied in a strict tone, the level of the discussion went up. Evidently the discussion was full of tension.”
Intercambiaron palabras por varios minutos. De pronto la platica entre ellos terminó y Mattia regresó al pit de Ferrari. pic.twitter.com/vBzVqs6RW5
— Gustavo H Motta (@TavoMotta) November 4, 2019
Earlier in the weekend, Binotto admitted he had not been happy by the way Ferrari’s rivals had behaved.
“I think there are two aspects,” the Swiss engineer said in Austin. “First we are annoyed by the rumours because in the past, as people got a great advantage on the powerunit, the only reaction we had as Ferrari was simply to work even harder to improve our package. We never blamed them of cheating,
“I think other teams at the moment are faster than us in cornering. We are not blaming them in cheating in cornering, so I think I will be more happy if people focused on their own effort and developed their own car.
“On the other side we are relaxed because we know exactly what we are doing. We know we are legal and the FIA is controlling our package every single race. They are inspecting all the data that is available to them, and inspections have been made.
“So what should I say? Hopefully the FIA will clarify to everybody that what we have got is legal and we are not cheating.”