Court keeps Minardi running
A supreme court injunction kept alive Minardi's hopes of competing in the Australian Grand Prix as the Formula One season started under a cloud of controversy on Friday.

Race stewards, who act for the governing FIA, had earlier rejected the team's bid to compete with 2004 cars that do not conform to new aerodynamics regulations.

"We are in. We'll be running all day tomorrow and then we'll have to wait and see what happens," Stoddart, whose struggling team are regular Grand Prix tail-enders, told Reuters.

The Australian, who comes from Melbourne, said the Victoria court had scheduled a second hearing at 14.15 local to decide whether or not Minardi can race on Sunday.

A team spokesman said legal documents would be served on stewards at the Grand Prix ball later on Friday.

First qualifying starts at 13.00 on Saturday, after two periods of practice, with the decisive second session now held on Sunday hours before the race.

Minardi drivers Christijan Albers of the Netherlands and Austrian Patrick Friesacher, both rookies, took no part in Friday's practice as Stoddart sought a resolution that would have allowed them to compete.

In a piece of theatre played out before the main grandstand, Stoddart waited for the stewards' verdict with a champagne bottle ready to be sprayed in jubilation. It remained corked.

"It is the view of the stewards that it is inappropriate and unacceptable to alter the technical regulations with which all other competitors comply in order to suit the individual needs and requirements of one competitor," the FIA said in a statement.

"It is the decision of the stewards that for Minardi...to participate further in the 2005 Australian Grand Prix, their cars must comply with all requirements of the 2005 FIA Formula One sporting and technical regulations."

Stoddart said before the injunction was granted that he believed Minardi had "an absolutely watertight case".

However the recourse to the civil courts for a sporting matter takes Formula One into uncharted territory and could have serious repercussions.

The Australian has been battling for days to secure permission for his cars to run, calling Ferrari boss Jean Todt after midnight on Thursday in an attempt to secure his approval.

While Stoddart celebrated his legal success, other team bosses clearly backed the stewards.

Ferrari's Jean Todt suggested Minardi were seeking a performance gain and publicity as much as anything while Red Bull's Christian Horner was delighted with the FIA stance.

"As far as I am concerned, the FIA are the regulators of Formula One and I don't see why the teams should be involved in saying whether someone should break the rules or not. The rules are the rules at the end of the day."

BAR's Nick Fry added: "I think they (the stewards) made a brave decision and good on them."

Jordan's Colin Kolles, whose team have most to lose by Minardi gaining a performance advantage as their closest rivals, opposed any concession to his rivals.

"I think that Jordan was in a worse situation than Minardi in December and January," he said. "We managed to bring the cars conforming to the 2005 regulations and so I think it should be possible for Minardi."
shares
comments
BAR: Wins above all else
Previous article

BAR: Wins above all else

Next article

Bernie proposes new testing rule

Bernie proposes new testing rule
The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche Plus

The sliding doors moment that saved Red Bull and Porsche

OPINION: Everything looked set for Red Bull and Porsche to join forces for the 2026 season, before the marriage between both parties was called off. While at the time it looked like a major coup for Formula 1 in gaining both VW Group powerhouses Audi and Porsche for 2026, Red Bull and Porsche have really been spared a potentially fractious relationship.

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive Plus

How Tyrrell’s post-Stewart era descended into a fight to survive

Glory days for Tyrrell became increasingly infrequent
 after Jackie Stewart’s retirement. But in the latest instalment of his history of the team for Autosport's sister title GP Racing, 
MAURICE HAMILTON recalls how Ken Tyrrell’s plucky and defiantly small team stayed bold enough to innovate – springing a surprise with F1’s first six-wheeled car

Formula 1
Dec 6, 2022
The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start Plus

The forgettable final car of a former F1 giant that gave Damon Hill his start

While it launched the F1 career 
of a future world champion, STUART CODLING recalls that the BT60 was also the final nail in the coffin of a once-great marque 30 years ago. Here is its story

Formula 1
Dec 5, 2022
How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future Plus

How departing F1 boss Brawn views F1’s new rules - and the future

Multiple-title-winning designer and team boss Ross Brawn is finally leaving Formula 1 after nearly 50 years in motorsport. But he still has plenty of insights on what’s working and what comes next, as he revealed to Autosport in a far-reaching exclusive interview in Abu Dhabi

Formula 1
Dec 2, 2022
The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat Plus

The key F1 management call Ferrari must make to avoid more defeat

OPINION: Mattia Binotto’s departure from Ferrari will naturally bring a range of changes across the Formula 1 team. But how the changes shape up and the impact they could have is set to be dictated by a key direction Ferrari’s top dogs will need to pick

Formula 1
Nov 30, 2022
The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants Plus

The difference between Mercedes’ stumble and the fall of F1 giants

OPINION: Mercedes endured its worst season of the hybrid Formula 1 era, but was mercifully spared its first winless campaign in over a decade late on. It has owned up to the mistakes it made which led to its troubled W13. And while its task to return to title-challenging contention is not small, its 2022 season seems more like a blip than the beginning of a downward spiral.

Formula 1
Nov 29, 2022
The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star Plus

The physical focus bringing out the best of an F1 midfield star

Esteban Ocon likes to point out he’s the first driver since Lewis Hamilton to emerge from a spell as Fernando Alonso’s team-mate with a superior overall points record. While some may disagree, as LUKE SMITH discovered, the 2021 Hungarian GP winner reckons it’s not just luck which has made him France’s pre-eminent Formula 1 driver of the moment…

Formula 1
Nov 28, 2022
How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy Plus

How Red Bull's dynamic leader shaped its F1 philosophy

The death of Dietrich Mateschitz last month has not only deprived Red Bull of its visionary founder, it has shorn Formula 1 of one of its most influential benefactors. Mateschitz himself was famously media-shy, preferring to let the brand do the talking on his behalf. And, while it’s now normal to speak of Red Bull F1 titles and champions made, Mateschitz never assumed it would be easy or even possible – as ANTHONY ROWLINSON discovered during this previously unpublished interview from 2006…

Formula 1
Nov 27, 2022