F1

Customer car row heading for arbitration

Customer car row heading for arbitration

The dispute about customer cars appears to be reaching a head as Spyker intends to take Super Aguri to arbitration. Spyker lodged a protest against the Japanese squad after qualifying in Melbourne as it believes the new Super Aguri SA07, only ...

The dispute about customer cars appears to be reaching a head as Spyker intends to take Super Aguri to arbitration. Spyker lodged a protest against the Japanese squad after qualifying in Melbourne as it believes the new Super Aguri SA07, only launched last week, is last year's Honda.

Super Aguri F1 Team SA07.
Photo by xpb.cc.

Reportedly the race stewards decided not to accept the protest as it should have been made before scrutineering -- Spyker's excuse was that it hadn't had enough time to examine the Super Aguri as it only got on track for the first time on Friday.

Apparently the stewards said that it was a matter in relation to the Concorde Agreement rather than the FIA regulations. Therefore Spyker intends to take Super Aguri to arbitration and Toro Rosso and Red Bull will also be under scrutiny.

Toro Rosso's STR2 is alleged to be based on this year's Red Bull and since both teams claim that Red Bull Technology supplies them with cars, the argument is that both are contravening the rules. The regulations say that teams must build their own cars -- it's a complex matter.

It seems that Bernie Ecclestone tried to diffuse the situation by suggesting that Super Aguri and Toro Rosso would not be eligible for points but the two teams in question rejected that idea.

The arbitration case will be presented in Switzerland and is not likely to be resolved quickly. Williams is reported to be supporting Spyker but it's not yet known if any other teams will get involved. In the mean time, it's possible that Spyker could lodge another protest at the next race in Malaysia.

Super Aguri displayed startling form in the practice sessions at Albert Park and went on to get both cars into the second qualifying session for the first time. Takuma Sato went one better and reached the final session and he and Anthony Davidson finished 10th and 11th respectively.

Toro Rosso did very little winter testing and remained near the back of the grid, but in front of both Spykers. Super Aguri and Toro Rosso have always maintained that their cars are legal but Spyker boss Colin Kolles believes he has a strong case against them.

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