Stoddart Hits Out at Mosley over Tyres

Minardi boss Paul Stoddart has sounded a warning, hitting back at FIA president Max Mosley, who recently made it plain that he viewed tyre safety as the responsibility of the teams and tyre companies

Stoddart Hits Out at Mosley over Tyres

"We are going into potentially the most litigious race of the year," Stoddart said. "I have said publicly that I do not agree with these tyre regulations and I'll state it again because in the event of a bad or fatal situation, I would not want to be one of the people responsible for bringing them in."

The current controversy arose after Kimi Raikkonen's flat-spotted tyre at Nurburgring, which led to the Finn's last lap suspension failure and accident. Raikkonen was unhurt but Stoddart's view is that F1 might not be so lucky next time.

The Minardi team principal's gripe was not with tyre safety, but with a regulation that does not allow a driver to come in and change a damaged tyre without a subsequent investigation to judge whether he was permitted to change it.

"It was predicted before the start of the season that this would occur," Stoddart claims. "You can't in any way blame the tyre companies. They should shoulder zero percent of the blame for what happened.

"A flat-spotted tyre is not something that has been created by either tyre compound or construction. If tyres are black and round you still have the opportunity to flat-spot them and that has diddly squat to do with manufacture."

The current tyre regulations, Stoddart points out, were fought against by the teams and were introduced via Article 7.5 of the Concorde Agreement under the guise of safety regulations.

"How can it possibly be safe to be putting the drivers, teams, marshals and spectators in this predicament?" Stoddart said. "It is a heavy weight on the FIA to decide at what point their regulations cross over into what is arguably a negligent situation.

"If we have another incident and are not so lucky next time, there are certain jurisdictions where it would be hard to walk away from responsibility as a governing body. And if, God forbid, it happens, then whatever country you are, whichever group of lawyers you are, lay the blame fairly and squarely where it belongs.

"Not even at the FIA's doorstep but at Max's doorstep."

Ferrari driver Rubens Barrichello argued in Montreal that faced with Raikkonen's Nurburgring situation he would have pitted, but he was markedly in the minority.

"Practically any team and driver faced with the position that McLaren and Raikkonen found themselves in at Nurburgring would have had no hesitation to continue," Stoddart went on.

"Because of the risk versus reward for coming in to do a pitstop where you would then not know if you were going to lose any points you had scored until some time after the race, after an investigation. You can't really have such a grey area over the regulations that it dissuades a team or driver from coming in to change a tyre.

"If it had been a different circuit and a different time and that car had gone off and into the crowd and we'd been facing serious injury or fatalities, would we all be having the same discussions now? No. The rules would have been changed overnight to prevent such a situation from happening."

There is, however, provision for race officials to bring a car judged to have a mechanical defect into the pits via a black and orange flag.

"I'll tell you why they didn't do that," Stoddart said. "Imagine, it's Max's tyre rule and [race director] Charlie [Whiting] black flags the race leader with a lap to go - you'd have the biggest Court of Appeal case known to mankind."


Read more, in Tony Dodgins' analysis All Tyred and Emotional in this week's Journal

shares
comments
BAR Hope for Indy Breakthrough
Previous article

BAR Hope for Indy Breakthrough

Next article

Preview: Raikkonen Seeks to Close Gap

Preview: Raikkonen Seeks to Close Gap
How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge Plus

How a bad car creates the ultimate engineering challenge

While creating a car that is woefully off the pace is a nightmare scenario for any team, it inadvertently generates the test any engineering department would relish: to turn it into a winner. As Mercedes takes on that challenge in Formula 1 this season, McLaren’s former head of vehicle engineering reveals how the team pulled of the feat in 2009 with Lewis Hamilton

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future Plus

The under-fire F1 driver fighting for his future

Personable, articulate 
and devoid of the usual
 racing driver airs and graces,
 Nicholas Latifi is the last Formula 1 driver you’d expect to receive death threats, but such was the toxic legacy of his part in last year’s explosive season finale. And now, as ALEX KALINAUCKAS explains, he faces a battle to keep his place on the F1 grid…

Formula 1
Aug 13, 2022
The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes Plus

The strange tyre travails faced by F1’s past heroes

Modern grand prix drivers like to think the tyres they work with are unusually difficult and temperamental. But, says  MAURICE HAMILTON, their predecessors faced many of the same challenges – and some even stranger…

Formula 1
Aug 12, 2022
The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1 Plus

The returning fan car revolution that could suit F1

Gordon Murray's Brabham BT46B 'fan car' was Formula 1 engineering at perhaps its most outlandish. Now fan technology has been successfully utilised on the McMurtry Speirling at the Goodwood Festival of Speed, could it be adopted by grand prix racing once again?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold Plus

Hamilton's first experience of turning silver into gold

The seven-time Formula 1 world champion has been lumbered with a duff car before the 2022 Mercedes. Back in 2009, McLaren’s alchemists transformed the disastrous MP4-24 into a winning car with Lewis Hamilton at the wheel. And now it’s happening again at his current team, but can the rate of progress be matched this year?

Formula 1
Aug 11, 2022
Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell Plus

Why few could blame Leclerc for following the example of Hamilton’s exit bombshell

OPINION: Ferrari's numerous strategy blunders, as well as some of his own mistakes, have cost Charles Leclerc dearly in the 2022 Formula 1 title battle in the first half of the season. Though he is locked into a deal with Ferrari, few could blame Leclerc if he ultimately wanted to look elsewhere - just as Lewis Hamilton did with McLaren 10 years prior

Formula 1
Aug 9, 2022
The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat Plus

The other McLaren exile hoping to follow Perez's path to a top F1 seat

After being ditched by McLaren earlier in his F1 career Sergio Perez fought his way back into a seat with a leading team. BEN EDWARDS thinks the same could be happening to another member of the current grid

Formula 1
Aug 8, 2022
How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay Plus

How studying Schumacher helped make Coulthard a McLaren F1 mainstay

Winner of 13 grands prix including Monaco and survivor of a life-changing plane crash, David Coulthard could be forgiven for having eased into a quiet retirement – but, as MARK GALLAGHER explains, in fact he’s busier than ever, running an award-winning media company and championing diversity in motor racing. Not bad for someone who, by his own admission, wasn’t quite the fastest driver of his generation…

Formula 1
Aug 7, 2022