Renault drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Nico Hulkenberg have been disqualified from the Japanese Grand Prix after their cars were deemed to have been fitted with an illegal driver aid relating to the brake bias system.

Ricciardo and Hulkenberg finished sixth and 10th respectively at Suzuka earlier this month, but were subject to a post-race protest from Racing Point over an automated brake bias system.

The FIA confirmed the protest was admissible and that its technical department would be investigating the matter in the days following before referring the matter to the race stewards.

In a statement issued by the Suzuka stewards on Wednesday evening, it was confirmed that both Renault cars had been disqualified from the final classification following a telephone conference earlier in the day.

The technical department found that while the system - a button mounted on the steering wheel to control the brake balance - was "not pre-set, lap distance-dependent as alleged" by Racing Point, and was therefore not in breach of the technical regulations, it did breach Article 27.1 of the sporting regulations.

This article "requires the driver to drive the car alone and unaided. 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.

"The stewards note that there is a clear distinction between this system and one which provides actual feedback control, which would be a substitute for driver skills or reflexes."

The ruling from the stewards revealed the claims from Racing Point originated from a former Renault employee "who was not aware of all the pertinent details of Renault's brake control system".

You can read the ruling in full by clicking here. Renault has been given until 10am on October 24 in Mexico to appeal the decision.

The decision costs Renault nine points in the constructors' championship, while giving Racing Point an additional five as Sergio Perez and Lance Stroll are both promoted two positions.

It also adds three points to Toro Rosso's total for the year thanks to gains for Pierre Gasly and Daniil Kvyat.

Renault later responded to the decision in a team statement which read: "Renault F1 Team acknowledges the decision of the Stewards of the Japanese Grand Prix regarding the protest by SportPesa Racing Point F1 Team concerning the legality of Renault F1 Team’s braking system during the Japanese Grand Prix.

"Despite the FIA concurring with Renault that the system was entirely legal under the FIA Technical Regulations, it was judged by the stewards that the system was in breach of the FIA Sporting Regulations regarding driver aid. Both Renault cars were disqualified from the Japanese Grand Prix and the team loses the nine points scored.

However, considering the subjectivity of the qualification of a system as a driver aid and the variability of the associated penalties in recent cases, Renault F1 Team will consider its next course of action within the timeframe laid out by the FIA."

 

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