Stoddart happy to prove a point

Stoddart happy to prove a point
Minardi boss Paul Stoddart claims he had dropped legal action against the FIA because obtaining a court injunction was enough to prove his point.

Stoddart applied to the Victorian Supreme Court in Australia for an injunction against the stewards of the Australian Grand Prix, after the latter disqualified his 2004 cars from taking part in the season-opening event.

But this morning, the Minardi team owner told Reporters he would not pursue legal actions and instead his team ran two cars that meet the 2005 technical regulations.

"As you are all aware yesterday afternoon in the Victorian Supreme Court an injunction was granted to allow us to run the 2004 car for today and a hearing was set for this afternoon for the FIA or, for that mater, any other party, to put forward their side of the story," Stoddart said in Melbourne.

"I think it was a landmark decision that a court saw fit to apply the law against the FIA regulations. There was no point in us continuing beyond the point of us proving that what we need is good governance, what we need is stable regulations and we need stability in this sport for its long-term future.

"We've done that and after a lengthy series of meetings that ended roughly around midnight last night, in the interest of the Australian Grand Prix - which had been embroiled in this mater - together with the interest of the sport and of Formula One as a sport, we have decided to discontinue the action; we don't feel there's anything more to prove, we've taken it as far as we needed to take it and throughout the night - and I've been here most of the night - we've managed to convert two cars to 2005 specification and we'll be running, as far as we are concerned.

"The mater is over and the message is very, very clear. The message is simply: we want clean, clear, precise regulations and a regulatory process in this sport for its future."

If you had the parts here, why didn't you put them on the car in the first place?

Stoddart: "First of all, we have disadvantaged ourselves enormously. There were a series of meetings taking part as far back as last September, but more recently with team principals meeting in January, where it was absolutely clear, and there was time to discuss it if anybody had a problem with it. Nobody had a problem with it at the time, yet it was clear here there were a few rumblings and it wasn't in anybody's interests that I would push it any further.

"What we needed to do was to establish a process, establish a position. We've done that and you'll find today that we weren't joking; we didn't have all the parts. Anybody that was around here during the night could see we spent our time cutting parts all night and you'll see that on the cars. You're not silly, you know what to look for, so you'll be able to see what parts of bodywork have been cut and glued everywhere.

"What we had was the 2005 parts, like the rear wings and the front wings are the same. You'll see them in Imola, but what we didn't have was all the spares. We've been working through the night but we don't have a spare car. We've got two race cars but we've got no spares. So if we have any offs, that's it for the weekend.

"It didn't have to be like that: we had the court order and we had the support of the teams before this weekend. Clearly there's been a lot of controversy over it, and I feel now it was the right decision to take not to push it any further than we had.

"The point has been made and it is that we need to see where this sport is going because if we don't govern this sport I think we all know where it's going to end up."

How comfortable are you with the safety of your cars?

Stoddart: "The parts haven't been tested and the car has only done one and a half laps in this configuration. I'm confident in the safety to the other competitors and I'm confident on the safety and integrity of the car to my drivers. How driveable the car is, which is what the real question is, is that probably it's not and I think you'll see that in the lap times.

"It's OK to say 'fit the parts and get on with it', but the other teams have the budgets and have done months and months of wind tunnel testing and have been track testing for months and months too. With us, you'll see the actual losses that result from the new regulations because these aero regulations were designed to actually add two seconds per lap to the times, and I can assure you today that it will add more than two seconds to our lap times.

"But if you look at the other end of the grid it has added nothing to their lap times because they've got it all back. Why? Because they've got the resources and this is my whole point about short, sharp, knee-jerk reactions in regulations' changes, it disadvantages the small teams, not the big teams with resources. So when you hear about cost-cutting measures, they don't help the small teams. Changes cost money especially when they're not thought through."

Have you communicated with Max Mosley in the last 24 hours?

Stoddart: "No, but I've been in some rooms where he has been on the other end of the telephone line. There was no direct communication but, yes, via intermediates there was."
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