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BAR Honda facing exclusion from F1 season


By Phil Huff
June 22 2005

Lucky Strike BAR Honda are facing the prospect of being excluded from the remainder of the Formula One season after withdrawing from the United States Grand Prix on Sunday. The team pulled out of the Indianapolis race following concerns about the safety of their Michelin tyres, joining the other six Michelin shod teams in retiring before the vent had started.

All the teams did, however, take to the grid, pulling into the pit lane at the end of the formation lap.

The FIA haven't taken too kindly to the show put on by the seven teams, accusing them of participating in an act prejudicial to the interests of competition or to the interests of motor sport generally.

The FIA's stance is unsurprising, given the fiasco that ensued at Indianapolis following Michelin's failure to provide a race safe tyre or accept any of the proposals for racing put to them. That makes up two of the reasons for charging the teams as above, with the other two being that the teams 'wrongfully refused to allow your cars to start the race' and that each team 'combined with other teams, to make a demonstration damaging to the image of Formula One by pulling into the pits immediately before the start of the race.'

Rule 131 of the F1 Sporting Regulations has also been broken, at least according to the FIA, which states that a team must inform the stewards at least 45 minutes before the start of the race if their cars are not going to take the start.

The issue looks of little importance to six of the Michelin teams, but BAR Honda are facing an altogether tougher time.

Since the teams fuel tank 'issues' back in early May, the team have been racing under the threat of a six month ban after the International Court of Appeal stated that they 'suspends the team for a period of six months after the above-mentioned two events [Spain and Monaco], with this penalty suspended for a period of one year.

In it's simplest form, this means that should BAR Honda break any more rules within a 12 month period, the team could have that six month ban brought into action.

Given that the FIA clearly feel rules have been breached, there's the prospect of the team missing the rest of this season, returning only for 2006.

It is a worst case scenario, as the FIA will be aware that the media and public at large would see any ban as being linked to a one-off tyre issue, and not as a carry over from a previous infringement.

With the FIA keen to assert it's authority this season, almost anything could happen.

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