BAR Forced to Use Imola Engines

Honda vice president Otmar Szafnauer confirmed on Thursday that BAR will run the same engines used in the San Marino Grand Prix in this weekend's race at the Nurburgring despite concerns they may not last the distance

BAR Forced to Use Imola Engines

BAR used new engines at Imola before being banned from the last two races in Spain and Monaco and Szafnauer had hoped to be able to change them on safety grounds without suffering a penalty.

"We were going to ask the FIA if we could run a new engine without a penalty but prior to us asking the FIA clarified that they would not allow that, which is fine," he told Autosport-Atlas. "We just wanted a clarification on the rules.

"The engine has been sitting for five weeks now and it really wasn't designed to sit this long. The longest period we have is a three-week period, a little less than three weeks, but this is a little less than five weeks.

"So, metals corrode, seals deteriorate, and that is our concern. It is just unproven. We usually don't like to run something we have not thoroughly tested and we have not tested with an engine that has been in this situation.

"Our concerns are that we don't really understand what happens in those five weeks. The engines are sealed now so you cannot take them apart after four weeks and say, oh, this is corroding more than we expected.

"When they are all sealed up you don't really know what is happening on the inside. It's a risk, but there is nothing we can really do about it. We have to run it."

The team could change to a new engine and take a 10-position grid penalty on each car but they are reluctant to do so because that would ruin their race weekend before it has even started.

They will be able to make some analysis on the engine using telemetry and oil analysis after the opening practice session and could still decide to change engines if they think the current units will not last the full race.

"I think at this point we will run it," said Szafnauer. "That is the decision as of now. We will run the engine and hopefully we will finish the race and finish in a good position. If something happens in qualifying that might change."

BAR's punishment was announced as a three-race ban, including a retrospective ban from the San Marino Grand Prix, which in theory should allow them to use a new engine without a penalty because they did not officially compete in Imola.

But after being threatened with further punishment for bringing the sport into disrepute they are unlikely to be keen to take that argument to the FIA and Szafnauer is simply happy to be on the grid again.

"It's great to be back," he said. "Qualifying is different and knowing that then saying we will take new engines and go 10 places back doesn't really make sense. Hopefully we can get a good qualifying and race to set ourselves up for Canada."

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