Willis: Fuel Tank was Conventional

BAR technical director Geoff Willis was so adamant that there was nothing unusual about the design of the team's controversial fuel tank that he did not even think that he needed to get its design approved by the FIA before they used it

Willis: Fuel Tank was Conventional

That is the claim put forward by Willis in his witness statement prior to this week's FIA Court of Appeal hearing, which banned BAR for two races.

BAR's failure to clarify the design of the tank with the FIA prior to its use was believed to have been one of the key factors that weakened their case against the Court of Appeal this week - especially since the team had frequently checked on the design of other less important components with the governing body over the last 18 months.

And although Willis never fully explained at the hearing why he had not gone to the FIA beforehand about the tank design, his witness statement, which has been released by BAR, reveals that he did not do so because he thought it was nothing out of the ordinary.

"Many times in the past I have sought clarification from the FIA Formula One Technical Department where regulations have been unclear or where new designs or systems have been proposed," he stated.

"I believe that the fuel system regulations are perfectly clear and the fuel system within our car complies fully with all relevant regulations. I would classify it as normal Formula One design technology with no part of that design causing any surprise to someone with up to date Formula One experience.

"The design raises no technical issues whatsoever and similar designs are used by other teams. Therefore, I did not feel it necessary to seek any clarification from the FIA Formula One Technical Department of our fuel system.

"With the benefit of hindsight I still consider that no clarification of the system is necessary and indeed the inspection of the fuel cell in Malaysia which did not result in any questions from the FIA confirmed that the system was not unusual."

Willis' belief that BAR's fuel tank design is no different to that used by other teams is backed up by an email from fuel cell supplier ATL Ltd to BAR's legal advisor responding to questions posed by the FIA case.

Asked whether the fuel cell used by BAR is 'not unusual/is typical', ATL's Phil Keyworth stated: "All current F1 fuel cell designs differ from team to team (and year to year). ATL finds nothing unusual with the BAR-Honda design."

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Series Formula 1
Author Jonathan Noble
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