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BAR Want 'Modest Fine' if Found Guilty

BAR's legal team believe that a 'modest fine' would be more than sufficient punishment for the outfit if the FIA's Court of Appeal disagrees with their view that fuel can be used as ballast

After strongly refuting the FIA's claims that the team deliberately cheated, and in doing so should be thrown out of the 2005 Formula One World Championship, BAR's barrister David Pannick insists the matter comes down to a simple interpretation of F1's rules.

BAR claim that they can use fuel as ballast because there is nothing in the regulations that strictly rules the action out, while the FIA insist that cars cannot use fuel as ballast after an edict laid down at a Technical Working Group hearing in 1994.

If the four appeal court judges rule that Jenson Button's BAR was illegally underweight at the San Marino Grand Prix, he believes that any punishment beyond financial would be unfair.

Summing up his case at the hearing, Pannick urged the judges to reject outright any claims of deliberate cheating and consider carefully that the team believed there was nothing in the F1 regulations that prevents teams from using fuel as ballast.

"There is no evidence that can begin to sustain the grave allegation of their personal integrity," he said. "There is no record that BAR-Honda have acted in a way deceptively or fraudulently in a previous occasion."

He added: "In our submission we ask you to reject any case of fraud, bad faith or deception as not having been proven by the FIA. We say you should also find in our favour of the proper interpretation of the rules.

"If you were to be against us, my submission would be that a fine would be to suffice because we have produced data that without this extra fuel then the car could not have got around the track. In those circumstances a modest fine would be sufficient."

The FIA have insisted, however, that BAR deliberately cheated with the way they used the secondary fuel tank and have called on the Appeal Court to throw the team out of the World Championship and fine it a minimum of one million Euros. 

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