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FIA and Renault in court today - updated 22 Aug 2006

In Paris on Tuesday morning, the International Court of Appeal sits to hear the FIA appeal the decision of its own stewards at last month’s German Grand Prix. The hearing relates to the use of mass dampers, the controversial suspension system pioneered by Renault.

Renault had been using mass dampers since the end of 2005 and several other teams have experimented with them this season. Prior to the Hockenheim race, the FIA informed the teams that such systems would no longer be acceptable, as they constituted moveable devices which could have a positive influence on aerodynamic performance.

However, when Renault presented their T-car at scrutineering in Germany with the system still in place, the stewards said they could find nothing that contravened regulations. The FIA immediately appealed that decision and Renault have not run the dampers since, pending the outcome of Tuesday’s hearing.

The result of the hearing is expected on Wednesday afternoon.

The Appeal Court judges

The FIA have revealed details of the men who will preside over the Paris hearing.

John J. Cassidy (US): John Cassidy is a senior partner at Baker Botts LLP, the law firm of James Baker II, the former US Secretary of State. He has represented a number of senior US public officials, including members of Congress and the Executive Branch, in connection with grand jury and independent counsel investigations. He has also established a substantial professional sports practice and is one of the principal legal advisors to NASCAR and the International Speedway Corporation.

Philippe Roberti de Winghe (Belgium): Philippe Roberti de Winghe has been a member of the FIA International Court of Appeal since 1976. A leading figure in Belgian motor sport, he was President of the Royal Automobile Club of Belgium from 1997 to 2001 and President of the Belgian Sporting Court of Appeal. In 2005 he was elected to serve as the President of the Congress of the International Court of Appeal.

Anthony Scrivener QC, (UK): Anthony Scrivener QC is one of the best-known criminal silks at the Bar, with a practice spanning more than 30 years. A former Bar chairman, his most prominent cases have included the Guildford Four, the Guinness trial and the miners’ strike. Scrivener is also a leading figure in sports law having represented Formula One’s Team Lotus, football club Tottenham Hotspur and golfer Bernhard Langer. He is a Steward of the Royal Automobile Club and currently sits on the National Court for the UK Motor Sport Association (MSA).

Pierre Tourigny (Canada): Pierre Tourigny was a founding member of Canada's national motor sport authority and continues to be a director of the association. Currently a partner at the law offices of LaFortune Leduc, he also has extensive experience in litigation for ship owners, marine underwriters, natural gas producers and consumer groups in front of Quebec and Canadian courts.