JULY 24, 2002
Arrows and the FIA
THE FIA is waiting to see what Arrows is going to do at the German GP and may take action if the team tries to repeat its stunt at the recent French GP when the cars ran for only one flying lap in qualifying. Team boss Tom Walkinshaw justified the action saying it was necessary to ensure the long-term future of the team but did not explain more than that.
Walkinshaw claims to have three different groups interested in investing in the team but first needs to reach a settlement with his partner Morgan Grenfell.
Our sources at the FIA say that if the team does the same again, it is risking facing a report to the FIA Stewards from the Race Director Charlie Whiting, possibly citing Article 151c of the International Sporting Code, which is intended to stop actions prejudicial to the spirit of competition.
The range of penalties for such an offence is wide-ranging but the FIA will probably look for a constructive solution to the problem and could imposed a three-race ban on the team - which would help it survive as it would reduce immediate costs. There is a danger however that in doing this the team's sponsors will decide that they are not going to go on funding the operation. This largely depends on what is written in the contracts.
The FIA does not want to be seen doing nothing as there is no doubt that for most people in and around F1 the team's behavior is not acceptable - even if there are problems to be solved. Teams are contracted to participate in all events but there is an argument that participation is one lap in qualifying.
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