FIA to hear BAR appeal 03 Aug 2004
The controversy surrounding BAR's front-wheel torque transfer system is not over yet and the FIA has agreed to hear an appeal by the Brackley-based team over the decision taken by stewards at the German Grand prix to ban the device.
Details about the system itself are still sketchy - the FIA's notice of the appeal hearing simply referred to an "electro hydraulic software controlled device which connects the front wheels via drive shafts and allows controlled torque transfer from a faster wheel to a slower wheel even under braking. The system is believed to allow a quicker and smoother transition from braking to cornering.
It was spotted by rival teams at Friday practice session of the German Grand Prix and the system was promptly brought to the attention of the FIA's technical delegate. Stewards at the race subsequently inspected the item as fitted to BAR's T-car and disallowed its use in the race itself.
If the team had been allowed to continue using it's possible the results in the race would have been even more impressive. Jenson Button drove the 'race of his life' to overcome a 10 grid position penalty awarded after the replacement of his engine, taking his BAR from 13th on the grid to second at the chequered flag. With the team's fortunes already riding so high this season, rival teams will take particular notice of the FIA's decision, mindful of any further competitive advantage that it might bring BAR.