FEBRUARY 7, 2007

A pugnacious Mr Kolles

Colin Kolles, the boss of the Spyker F1 team, was in fighting form at the launch of the team's new car on Monday at Silverstone. Kolles is upset at the suggestion that the Toro Rosso and Super Aguri F1 cars will be little more than customer versions of the Red Bull and Honda chassis. There is currently no visual evidence as neither of the cars has yet been seen and the four teams involved all deny that this is the case.

But, then again, they would say that.

Perhaps, more significantly, attempts have been going on to find a solution (which suggests that there is a problem) in order to avoid a messy public blow-up in Melbourne. Spyker and Williams have been making disgruntled noises and have talked about arbitration, but Kolles went further at the launch, saying that the team would apply for an injunction in Australia if it believed that other cars did not comply with the terms of the Concorde Agreement - a legally-binding contract.

"If we don't like the cars then we will have an injunction, for sure," Kolles told the media. "They will have to learn it the hard way. We are trying to find a solution and there are some people who think they are super-clever. We will see at the end of the day, who has the evidence and the proof. And I can tell you that I have them and some people are very naive. They shouldn't be entitled to get Drivers' and Constructors' points. On Drivers' points, we can look into it, but definitely not Constructors', because they are not constructors."

The problem for Toro Rosso and Super Aguri is that if they have manufactured copies of the Red Bull and the Honda they have only themselves to blame. The terms of the Concorde Agreement are clear in this respect and there is now little time to do anything much to change the cars, apart from playing with the aerodynamics to make them look different. This will affect performance but might avoid trouble - although if Kolles really does have the evidence he is suggesting that he has, even that will not help matters.

The danger for Kolles is that if he makes too much public fuss he may be encouraged to quieten down.

Formula 1 is not a world where people like race meetings being upset with legal actions, even if they are warranted. Often pressure is applied to make sure that these things remain out of the public eye. And a smaller team like Spyker is rather more susceptible to such pressures than the bigger teams, as they have more to lose. That may not be right nor fair but that is how the game works and those who stick their heads above the parapet have a tendency to get hurt.