Home / Sports / Motor Racing Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read | Comment
BMW's protest against three teams mars F1 season opener
Adjust font size:

The BMW-Sauber team said they will protest rivals Brawn GP, Toyota and Williams in a controversy that threatens to sour Sunday's season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

"We will lodge a protest," team principal Mario Theissen told reporters at the Albert Park circuit yesterday.

"We are preparing our protest and then we will see what happens."

The new Brawn GP team, who have been comfortably quickest in pre-season testing, and the other two teams have been using innovative but contentious rear diffusers - a key part that governs the quick and smooth flow of air under the car to increase downforce.

Rivals argue the cars are illegal in a dispute that has been simmering since pre-season testing.

"Sadly a lot of the column inches this weekend are going to be about controversy and it can easily become acrimonious," said McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh.

"That's the way of Formula One, to sometimes stumble across into a very acrimonious environment. In defence of everyone, I don't think anyone has set out deliberately to cheat here.

"It's a shame that this sporting occasion is going to have that controversy thrust upon it over the course of the weekend."

Decision needed

Whitmarsh said McLaren, the team of world champion Lewis Hamilton, who are battling to get their own car up to speed after being off the pace in testing, also needed a clarification from the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA).

"We have an underdeveloped car, we do not have sufficient aerodynamic downforce and we'd like to focus on rectifying that situation as quick as we can," said Whitmarsh.

"In order to do so it would be very handy if I could tell our aerodynamics team that these are the rules that prevail. And I can't actually do that today, which means that you've got a foot on the bank and a foot on the boat.

"Either the majority of the teams are going to have to change the design of their car or the minority are going to have to change theirs," he said.

F1's regulations have undergone dramatic change this season, particularly in the area of aerodynamics, but there are grey areas.

Brawn, who are using the same Mercedes engines as McLaren, have alarmed rivals with the pace of their car that was designed over the past year-and-a-half by Honda before the Japanese manufacturer decided to quit in December.

Honda effectively wrote off last season to concentrate on producing a winning car for 2009 and poured money and resources, including the use of three wind tunnels, into the project.

Brawn's British driver Jenson Button, who has become a favorite for Sunday's race, brushed off the dispute.

"It's not something I have any control over personally," he said. "It doesn't change anything for me. I can't do anything about it. It's down to (team owner) Ross (Brawn) and whoever else is involved."

FIA President Max Mosley said last week there were strong arguments for both positions and the row could rumble on for some time yet.

"Probably what will happen is that it will end up going to the stewards (in Melbourne) who will make a decision. That will almost certainly be appealed by whichever side is disadvantaged. And then that will go to our court of appeal and be hammered out," Mosley added.

(Reuters via China Daily March 27, 2009)

Tools: Save | Print | E-mail | Most Read

Pet Name
China Archives
Related >>
- Australian Grand Prix facts and figures
- FIA confirms points system unchanged
- Hamilton faces new challenges
- Alonso fears tight race in Melbourne
Special Reports
The site of choice for golfers looking for Internet news and information.

More >>

Upcoming Events

March 2009

- All England Open Badminton Champions
- ISU World Cup Speed Skating Final
- IAAF World Indoor Track and Field Championships
- ISU World Short Track Speed Skating Championships
- World Figure Skating Championships
- Australia F1 Grand Prix
- Liberty Mutual Legends of Golf