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Daniel Ricciardo disqualified from Japanese Grand Prix

By Cameron Kirby, 24 Oct 2019 News

Renault F1 Japanese Grand Prix

An illegal driver aid has resulted in the Australian driver losing his strong finish in Suzuka

Daniel Ricciardo’s performance at the Japanese Grand Prix typified his driving style since joining Formula 1, with a hard charge through the field which included a number of daring overtakes.

Unfortunately, his impressive climb from 16th on the grid to sixth will be scrubbed from the record books, as his Renault F1 team has been found to be using an illegal driver aide.

Both Ricciardo and his teammate Nico Hulkenberg have been disqualified from the Japanese Grand Prix following a protest lodge by rival team Racing Point.

An FIA stewards teleconference was held yesterday to assess whether a brake bias adjustment system used by both Renaults was legal, according to Motorsport.com

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While the stewards determined that the system was not in contravention of the sport’s technical regulations, it was decided that it was a driver aid, and hence deemed illegal.

According to Motorsport.com, Racing Point lodged its protest of the Renault F1 team, believing that the French manufacturer was using a pre-set lap distance dependent brake bias adjustment system.

How would Racing Point even know if another team was using such a system? Well, according to FIA documents, a suggestion this technology was in use was made by an ex-Renault employee.

In its defence, Renault claimed that the brake bias adjustment system did not use a lap distance trigger, meaning it didn’t break any rules. It event went as far as providing the FIA will full details on the system, which has been kept secret… obviously.

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The judgment handed down by the stewards stated “while Renault used innovative solutions to exploit certain ambiguities in the Technical Regulations and other supporting documents, their system does not breach any current Technical Regulation.”

However, Ricciardo and Hulkenberg were disqualified from the race in Suzuka because ““The brake balance adjustment system in question acts as a driver aid, by saving the driver from having to make a number of adjustments during a lap,” according to the stewards, meaning it breaches Article 27.1 of the FIA’s Formula 1 sporting regulations.

Renault can still appeal the penalty, and has until 10am local time in Mexico on Thursday to do so.

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