Arbitration was right, says Merc

The three car manufacturers that threatened to take the sport's governing body to arbitration over the planned switch to V8 engines in Formula 1 by 2006 have insisted that their case would have been successful - despite deciding to drop the action earlier this month

Arbitration was right, says Merc

Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Honda had seriously considered challenging FIA president Max Mosley's decision to cut engine capacity from the start of 2006 as a means of controlling costs. The companies were upset because they claimed such a move was a breach of the Concorde Agreement, the document by which F1 is run, which states complete stability of engine rules until the end of 2007.

But although some have viewed the recent decision of the companies to back down in their legal challenge as acceptance of defeat, Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug has claimed that their advice was that they would actually have won - but the case would have taken so long that it would have damaged the sport as well as their own means of developing competitive engines.

"According to the advice of legal experts, the outcome of such a case could have been quite promising for us," explained Haug. "But we had to face a long time of judicial battles.

"During that time we would have been forced to develop in parallel both engine types (a V8 and a V10) and this we wanted to prevent."

BMW motorsport director Mario Theissen, who has spoken on behalf of Honda with regards to the legal challenge, added: "The legal challenge to the content and form of the rules would have taken too much time.

"In that time we would have been forced to develop in parallel expensive engine concepts. Such a move would not have been in the spirit of a sport we want to strengthen."

And all three manufacturers agree that now the threat of a legal challenge has been lifted, the biggest winner will be F1 itself.

Haug added: "The fact that all the manufacturers now support the same engine package is a very good sign for Formula 1 racing."

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