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FIA Press Release on Benetton/McLaren hearing

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PRESS RELEASE FROM THE FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DE L'AUTOMOBILE (FIA) The World Motor Sport Council met today in Paris, under the Presidency of Max Mosley, to hear and judge the following matters: A Appeal by Mild Seven Benetton Ford ...

PRESS RELEASE FROM THE FEDERATION INTERNATIONALE DE L'AUTOMOBILE (FIA)

The World Motor Sport Council met today in Paris, under the Presidency of Max Mosley, to hear and judge the following matters:

A Appeal by Mild Seven Benetton Ford against Stewards decision Number 3 for the exclusion of car No. 5 (Michael Schumacher) from the results of the 1994 Belgian Grand Prix.

B The infringement by Mild Seven Benetton Ford of Article 6.5.1 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations by deliberately removing a filter from the refueling equipment supplied by the FIA at the 1994 German Grand Prix (Hockenheim, 31 July).

C The infringement by Marlboro McLaren Peugeot of Article 1.3 and 9.2 of the FIA Formula One Technical Regulations and Article 45 of the FIA Formula One Sporting Regulations by fitting car No. 7 with a fully-automatic upchange gear facility at 1994 San Marino Grand Prix (Imola, 1 May).

Case A:

After hearing the defense of Mild Seven Benetton Ford and completely reviewing the entire case, the FIA World Motor Sport Council could not find any reason to interfere with Steward's decision Number 3.

Mild Seven Benetton Ford car No. 5 driven by Michael Schumacher therefore remains excluded from the results of the 1994 Belgian Grand Prix. The FIA World Motor Sport Council is, however, satisfied that Mild Seven Benetton Ford made a mistake and did not intend to infringe the regulations.

The FIA World Motor Sport Council noted that the skidblocks of eight cars were checked after the race and that seven of these complied with the regulations.

Case B:

It emerged during the hearing that there was a possibility that the company which supplies the refueling equipment, Intertechnique, had authorized another competitor (Larrousse) to remove its filter, as early as last May.

The World Motor Sport Council was told that a junior member of the Mild Seven Benetton Ford team - on his own initiative - removed the filter from the Benetton refueling equipment without consulting the team Director.

The World Council noted that during the investigations into the German Grand Prix fire Mild Seven Benetton Ford made no attempt to conceal the fact that they had removed the filter despite ample opportunity to do so.

Mild Seven Benetton Ford undertook to make substantial management changes so as to ensure that a similar event could never happen again.

Under these circumstances the FIA World Motor Sport Council decided that it would not be appropriate to impose a penalty on the Mild Seven Benetton Ford team.

Case C:

The FIA World Motor Sport Council found that the gearbox control device fitted to car No. 7 (Mika Hakkinen) Marlboro McLaren Peugeot at the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix was in breach of the Formula One Technical Regulations.

However the FIA World Motor Sport Council was satisfied that McLaren had fitted this system believing it to be legal according to their interpretation of the rules. They did not intend to infringe the regulations.

McLaren and any other team with such a device will be required to remove the up-change facility prior to the Italian Grand Prix and any similar down-change facility prior to the Portuguese Grand Prix.

The World Motor Sport Council upheld the fine of $100,000 imposed on the McLaren team on 26 July for delay in supplying the source codes. The World Motor Sport Council did not accept as a good enough reason the fact that the team itself had difficulties in acquiring the source codes from the company supplying them. The World Council recognized that the delay was not due to any intention by McLaren deliberately to conceal any feature in its software.

The World Council noted that during the course of the investigation, LDRA Ltd discovered a bug (fault) in the McLaren software which was producing a power loss in the engine (due to a faulty signal from the gearbox control unit to the engine control unit). McLaren will now be able to correct this problem.

Paris 7 September 1994

AUTOSPORTS BBS -- (310) 641-9627 -- Home of SpeedNet

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