'Very questionable': F1 great's fears for Renault amid 'cheating' drama

Former F1 driver Ralf Schumacher has expressed his concerns that Renault have been deliberately flouting the rules this season.

Formula One's governing body moved to seal and impound the steering wheels and electronic control units of Renault's cars on Sunday after a Japanese Grand Prix protest by rivals Racing Point.

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The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said, after meeting team representatives, that the protest had been ruled admissible and would be heard at a later date.

Canadian-owned Racing Point had protested about an "alleged pre-set lap distance-dependent brake bias adjustment system" on the cars raced by Australian Daniel Ricciardo and German Nico Hulkenberg.

Schumacher, who drove for Jordan, Williams and Toyota from 1997 to 2007, has since spoken out about about the controversy and said Renault being disqualified from the championship isn’t out of the question.

Daniel Ricciardo speaks to the media at the Japanese Grand Prix. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

“As a works team that would be very questionable. They’d have to rethink everything,” Schumacher told Sky Germany, saying he hoped Renault hadn’t been deliberately cheating.

“The driver is normally responsible for adjusting the brake balance, so if it is happening automatically you could brake later and take more speed into each corner.

“It would be a big advantage. An automatic system controlled electronically could do it much better and faster than the driver can manually.”

Schumacher said there’s a huge possibility Ricciardo’s team will be found guilty.

“The suspicion must be reasonable because it’s an unwritten rule that you don’t accuse another team of something like that unless you’re 100 per cent sure,” he said.

“If they’re right, it’s a catastrophe for Renault.”

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Ralf Schumacher looks on in the Paddock at the Russian Grand Prix. (Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images)

Renault deny allegations

The FIA said a representative of the technical department had been directed to seal and impound the parts in preparation for a detailed analysis of them, as well as analysis of associated hardware, software and data.

"When the likely submission date of the assessment can be determined, the FIA Technical Department representative will communicate that to the chairman of the stewards so that the next meeting time to assess the claims made in the protest can be scheduled,” it added.

Renault said in a statement that Racing Point had prepared a 12-page dossier.

"Renault F1 team intends to use this recess to prepare an equally detailed case to rigorously defend its position,” said the French manufacturer team.

Renault took a double points haul at Suzuka with Ricciardo sixth and Hulkenberg 10th. Mercedes-powered Racing Point had Sergio Perez ninth and Lance Stroll 11th.

The French team are fifth overall on 77 points to seventh-placed Racing Point's 54.

with Reuters