Ferrari Formula 1 driver Charles Leclerc has avoided punishment following an investigation into a possible fuel discrepancy during the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.

Leclerc was summoned to a hearing with the Yas Marina stewards immediately after the Abu Dhabi finale after finding a “significant difference” in the amount of fuel inside his SF90 prior to the start of the race.

FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer issued a bulletin less than an hour before lights out confirming that an irregularity had been found on Leclerc’s car following a routine fuel check, which in turn prompted a post-race investigation. The FIA technical directive outlines how procedures of fuel is measured pre-race. 

It was found there was a difference of 4.88kgs between the team's declaration and the technical delegate's measured fuel mass, meaning the Scuderia had breached the technical directive and infringed Article 12.1.1.i of the International Sporting Code. 

As a result, the stewards determined that Ferrari should be fined €50,000 for its inaccurate declaration but that Leclerc warranted no penalty. 

Leclerc completed the podium behind race-winner Lewis Hamilton and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen, having edged the recovering Valtteri Bottas to the final spot on the rostrum by less than a second.

Before the investigation, Ferrari team principal Mattia Binotto said he was "quite relaxed" about the outcome of the hearing and did not expect his side to be hit with any sporting penalty. 

Leclerc has subsequently retained his 10th podium finish of 2019 and ends his maiden season at Ferrari 24 points clear of four-time world champion teammate Sebastian Vettel, who conceded he must improve in 2020 after a disappointing campaign.

 

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