BAR Could Face Further FIA Punishment

BAR could yet face further punishment this season on top of their two-race ban after motor racing's governing body, the FIA, said on Monday that they were investigating claims the team have brought the sport into disrepute

BAR Could Face Further FIA Punishment

With the team having been suspended until the European Grand Prix at the end of this month, the matter has now escalated on the back of comments made by representatives at last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

A spokesman for the FIA confirmed that press statements issued by the team have caused concern - and that if the governing body finds there has been a breach of the rules then BAR could be summoned in front of the World Motor Sport Council.

It is understood that the FIA are investigating whether there has been a breach of Article 151C of the International Sporting Code, which claims an offence is: "Any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally."

Penalties can range from mere reprimands to full exclusion from the Formula One World Championship. The FIA could also withdraw the team's points from the entire Championship.


The FIA move comes after the F1 manufacturers issued a statement on Monday suggesting they were unhappy with the Court of Appeal's decision to ban BAR for two races.

A statement issued by the FIA said: "The FIA has noted the statement issued today in the name of BMW, DaimlerChrysler, Honda, Renault and Toyota. Its reference to 'events of the past week' is understood to concern penalties imposed on BAR-Honda for a particularly reprehensible breach of the rules.

"The FIA will continue rigorously to enforce the rules of Formula One. It will also continue to allow competitors access to a Court of Appeal whose standing and independence has repeatedly been recognised by the civil courts, most recently (March 2005) by the Tribunal de Grande Instance in Paris.

"No manufacturer, however large, will be allowed a concealed or unfair advantage.  Those unable or unwilling to accept this have no place in Formula One.  They should also understand that any sport is likely to impose further sanctions on a competitor which attacks the integrity of the governing body when caught breaking the rules.

"Statements attributed to the management of BAR Honda are currently under investigation in the light of the team's obligation to do nothing 'prejudicial to the image and dignity of Formula One racing' or 'prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally'.

"The manufacturers concerned came into Formula One for their own reasons. They were not invited - they invited themselves.  Each of them accepted the rules and structures of the sport as they had done on many previous occasions."

After being served with the two-race ban, BAR initially tried to challenge the FIA's two-race ban in the civil courts but gave up when they could not find a court willing to hear their case because of Bank Holidays in France and Spain.

Team boss Nick Fry also openly questioned the independence of the FIA's Appeal Court over the weekend.

He was quoted as saying: "Why are we the only international sport that doesn't have a truly independent court of appeal? We should be better than that. Many other sports have already realised that they need an independence in these matters." 

On the back of the statement issued this morning by the manufacturers planning a breakaway series questioning the integrity of the FIA Court of Appeal, sources close to the FIA claim the governing body are not impressed at questions over their integrity.

One source said: "It would appear that the manufacturers may be attempting to manipulate for political and commercial advantage the integrity of the rules of the game."

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