Only have found that "traction control is banned" line as being the rule valid in 1994.
If Benetton did have any kind of TC, measuring whatever they wanted, acting on whatever they felt like, it was against the rules.
This is what Toet says in his article:
The rule makers (FiA) will often make bold and short press announcements such as (1994) - "traction control is banned". The reality is that the teams have to comply with a complex and lengthy set of technical regulations. If you can find a way to improve your car within the letter of those regulations then you're legal even if you have "traction control". F1 has always worked that way and still does today. In 1994 Benetton may have been the first to discover these loopholes but they were not the only ones.
To underline Toet's final two sentences I can think of numerous examples where teams comply with the "letter of the regulations at the time" yet still achieve a TC type device (quite legally). This was the key reason a number of addtional rules were introduced at the 2000 British GP. As well as the ban on TC being eventually lifted. Trying to police it became impossible because as new technology appeared rules needed to be clarified. The following transcript is part of an interview with FIA President Max Mosley conducted by members of the racing media and held Friday September 9 at Monza, site of the 1994 Grand Prix of Italy.
Q. Gonzales: Do you think mistakes were made by the FIA?
Mosley: Yes. Perhaps I did not say this clearly enough earlier on...
...We will also require the teams to ask us first about all technical matters where there might be any doubt or where the rules are unclear. That avoids these doubts. But we failed to do that before all of this. It wasn't clear. And it is difficult, particularly when part of the fault was ours, as it was in this case, then to condemn people. Sometimes you have to admit that you didn't do something quite right, and that you will do it correctly from this point on.
Q. Jochen Mass: There are still suggestions that Ferrari's car at Aida was illegal, and they got off too lightly. Can you comment?
Mosley: We think that the Ferrari device was illegal (but) you could produce an extremely good argument that it was entirely legitimate....
....With the Ferrari, it was very clearly arguable, so one could not possibly say it was cheating. It was a genuine (dispute of) the interpretation of the rules.
Q. Jochen Mass: Will the rules be made simple? At present, it seems that not even the teams can fully understand the regulations.
Mosley: The trouble is that we cannot change the regulations without the agreement of all the participants. All we can do is to interpret them. The essential element in interpreting rules is to do it quietly, BEFORE a race meeting, without a cloud of controversy....In a funny way, I believe that even if we could change them, it would be very difficult to make them much clearer. They have to be clarified as the new technology appears, but preferably privately.
The bits in bold clearly show there was a massive problem in interpreting a rule like "Traction control or driver aids are banned". The 1994 pre-season article in Motorsport Magazine on Page 11 (March 1994) illustrates this was down to a worrying degree of vagueness in the rules. As a result all the top teams were accusing one another of having illegal cars. Here is the article in question;
So, given that FIA somwhere must have defined what Traction Control is (kind of has to define what they're banning) it would be nice to find it somewhere. I would like to know if the system was legal or if they just weren't caught.
My understanding is the rotational inertia example explained by Toet was deemed legal by the FiA/Race Stewards following a "clarification" on the matter. As Toet states in that article that Williams complained to the press and the FiA. So the FiA did know about it at the time. Therefore IMO you cannot call it cheating just like the Ferrari / Aida case or the Mclaren gearbox case. Below is another extract from that Mosley interview at Monza 1994 and I believe explains how the "Clarification" may have worked:
Jochen Mass: It is still the team's right to argue this in front of the stewards.
Mosley: This is all very complicated and legalistic, but it is important to remember that if a team writes to the FIA Technical Department to ask, say, whether a gearbox that changes up by itself is legal or not, and the Department writes back to say it is illegal, that is ONLY an opinion. The FIA, or whoever, does not have the right to say that something is legal or otherwise: we cannot change the rules. Equally, the Technical Department cannot interpret the rules; it can only give an opinion. The real interpretation of the rules is the responsibility of the Stewards, with the right of appeal. But we can, and do, express our opinion. But if the team were to disagree, they would be allowed to argue it out in front of the stewards. And of course the worst that would happen would be that they would lose the times from the session, or whatever.
We always have to bear in mind the background. When you think of the arguments about sports like football, with very low technology, while we have these incredibly high technology machines, which are changing and developing all the time and are dramatically different from one race to the next. Our regulations are extremely complex, made even more complicated by the fact that in the absence of an agreement they tend to be obscure in themselves, as for example with the gearbox regulations.
This is an interesting insight into the Mclaren gearbox case from Molsey
"And you see, in McLaren's case we had not clearly told them that an automatic upchange was outside the rules. In our minds it was obviously outside..." But surely, at the beginning of the year the idea was that anyone who had anything about which there was doubt had to present it to the FIA for clarification?
"They do now. But we brought that in at the beginning of September. We've now, I think, nailed it down so it starts to be very very difficult, but it was only really at Monza."
An interesting little known fact about the Mclaren gearbox case is the FiA actually helped Mclaren discover a fault with their engine management software. It is also interesting anaylsing the performance of Mclaren prior to the gearbox hearing and after the gearbox hearing:
They were exonerated but must remove the upchange facility on the gearbox immediately and any similar downchange facility prior to the Portuguese GP in two weeks' time. But, during the investigation, a bug in the engine management software was discovered - an unexpected performance bonus. Mika Hakkinen and Martin Brundle will enjoy this fortuitous benefit.
Edited by Ibsey, 17 April 2017 - 12:04.