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F1 NEWS 

Kolles critical of engine equivalency

Midland managing director Colin Kolles has once again expressed his unhappiness at the current equivalence formula to restrict V10 engines.

Formula One newcomers Scuderia Toro Rosso kicked up a desert storm on Friday after lapping faster than more fancied teams in practice for the season-opening Bahrain Grand Prix.

The Red Bull-owned team, replacing former stragglers Minardi, are alone in using a rev-limited V10 engine. The other teams have switched to new regulation V8 units.

The restricted V10s were allowed to remain as a concession to Minardi who would have struggled to stay in the sport without them.

However, Toro Rosso are in a different league, bankrolled by Austrian energy drink billionaire Dietrich Mateschitz and co-owned by former racer Gerhard Berger.

A so-called equivalency formula is supposed to ensure the V10s have no competitive advantage but several teams believe that the FIA governing body has got its maths wrong.

"The equivalency is wrong and this is what we have said all along," Midland team boss Kolles told Reuters.

"Everybody has to think about this. People are investing lots of development money into V8 engines and then you simply come with an old car and a restricted V10 and you are competitive.

"It's not a matter of protest. For me it's a question of the right people dealing with this problem in the right way. The world champion is two tenths quicker than a rookie driver in an old car. So something is not right."

Mercedes motorsport director Norbert Haug said on Thursday that Toro Rosso could be podium contenders in Bahrain, an assertion that gained credence when Italian Vitantonio Liuzzi was sixth fastest in Friday practice.

He was less than two tenths of a second slower than Renault's world champion Fernando Alonso and quicker than Renault's Giancarlo Fisichella, both McLarens and the Hondas.

Ferrari boss Jean Todt said he was confident the governing body would do the right thing. An FIA spokesman said it was monitoring the situation very closely.

"When it was decided to allow some private teams to have access to a V10 with a restrictor, we informed the FIA that we could object depending on the outcome of the championship," said Todt. "So I am confident it is going to happen."

Berger defended his team.

"We took over the engine contract from Minardi and that's what we have," he said. "We've built up a team, we've made it stronger, we have quite a good car and we have this engine which we are very happy with.

"As I understood, the goal of the FIA was to regulate this engine in a way that is competitive. I'm 100 percent sure that we don't have the best engine...but I'm also sure that we don't have the worst.

"And I don't think it was the goal to put the V10 as the worst engine. I think it should have a fair chance."


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