Mistake Could Cost Toyota First Podiums

Toyota risk losing their first podium finishes in Formula One because of an administrative error at the start of the season, according to an exclusive report in the June edition of F1 Racing

Mistake Could Cost Toyota First Podiums

The Cologne-based team reportedly failed to get their competition licence and Superlicence paperwork in place until after the San Marino Grand Prix - which means, in theory, that they stand the risk of losing the points they scored in the first four races of the year.

Teams are required to have those documents in place to be eligible to take part in Grands Prix - and the absence of the paperwork was believed to be one of the reasons why the Japanese manufacturer backed down in their FIA Court of Appeal hearing against Ralf Schumacher's 25-second penalty for a pitlane infringement at the San Marino Grand Prix.

Toyota Motorsport president John Howett confirmed the problem when asked by F1 Racing at last weekend's Spanish Grand Prix.

"We've had a problem with our national licence," he told the magazine. "This has now been resolved with the German authorities and the revised documents have now been submitted to the FIA. They've now issued us with a new Superlicence.

"But this was a genuine administrative mistake which we sincerely regret."

The FIA has confirmed that the matter is under investigation, although it is not clear whether any action will be taken - or if rival teams will try and protest against Toyota.

"The new licences were issued in the week leading up to the Spanish Grand Prix," FIA director of communications Richard Woods told F1 Racing. "But the FIA is still investigating the issue."

Toyota's strong start to the season has help lift the team to second overall in the Constructors' Championship, behind Renault, while Jarno Trulli is currently Fernando Alonso's closest challenger in the Drivers' Championship.

Toyota scored their first podium finish at the Malaysian Grand Prix, followed by a second podium finish in Bahrain - with Trulli finishing second in both cases.

In a worst case scenario, should the team be stripped of their results from before the Spanish Grand Prix, it would cost them a total of 29 points - although any protest against them could result in a lesser penalty, of a fine or reprimand.

The June editon of F1 Racing will be on sale on May 16th.

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