Banned team give up plans of further legal action
The big news in Barcelona on Friday morning was that BAR will not compete this weekend, nor in Monaco, as they have been unable to find a court to hear their case for an injunction against the FIA Court of Appeals two-race ban, issued on Thursday.
A statement from BAR said: The central issue is one of jurisdiction. Jurisdiction in Europe is governed by European-wide rules, which say that a defendant party has a right to be sued in the territory in which it is based. Upon receiving the best legal advice in all relevant jurisdictions, the conclusion is that nothing can be done to enable the team to race this weekend.
The team went on to say they will not be challenging the FIA in court, as initially planned, because it would cause a level of disruption and damage to the sport which would not serve the best interests of everyone involved. Instead they will be discussing the ramifications of the Court of Appeal verdict with the other teams and manufacturers involved in the sport.
Ever since the verdict was announced on Thursday, teams chief executive Nick Fry has continued to protest their innocence over charges of running Jenson Buttons car underweight in the San Marino Grand Prix and using fuel to ballast it. Both Button and team mate Takuma Sato were excluded from the Italian results, moving Mark Webber and Vitantonio Liuzzi into the points.
The FIA International Court of Appeal in its own judgement was unable to prove that the team acted in bad faith, continued the teams statement. BAR Honda therefore remains unclear as to the basis for such a severe penalty. The team vigorously contests any insinuation that could potentially tarnish its reputation and good record, something that is of fundamental importance to the whole organisation and its partners.
Meanwhile, FIA president Max Mosley issued a strong warning to all of the teams when he said: We are now considering whether to select one car at random of the points scorers at every race, and stripping it to the last nut and bolt. That will give a seven to one chance that if you are cheating and finish in the points, you will get caught.
Bernie Ecclestone reacted to the news by confirming that although a field of only 18 cars now fell short of the required 20, there would be no need for the two races for other teams to consider running third cars to make up the numbers.
World Championship leader Fernando Alonso condoned the penalty, but admitted that he sympathised with Button. We are all agreed that there are specific rules for all the teams, and if you are not inside them you risk a penalty. The amount of that penalty is not up to us, but I totally agree with it. But it is difficult not to feel sorry for Jenson. He did a fantastic race in Imola, was on the podium and he deserved it the way he drove. You are risking a lot in the whole race and the quallie laps, and when its not your fault and you are out, its disappointing.