Minardi given go-ahead for qualifying

Minardi will participate in Saturday's practice sessions and qualifying in Melbourne after the Supreme Court of Victoria granted an interim injunction against the race stewards' decision to not let the team take part. It was deemed that Minardi's...

Minardi will participate in Saturday's practice sessions and qualifying in Melbourne after the Supreme Court of Victoria granted an interim injunction against the race stewards' decision to not let the team take part. It was deemed that Minardi's chassis did not comply with the 2005 regulations and the team was not allowed to take part in Friday's practices.

The stewards said that: "it is inappropriate and unacceptable to alter the technical regulations with which all other competitors comply in order to suit the individual needs and requirements of one competitor such that that individual competitor would participate in a Grand Prix event in circumstances where his car runs to a technical specification which differs from all other participants."

However, the Court temporarily overturned the decision. "Mr Justice Hapersberger of the Supreme Court of the State of Victoria this afternoon granted an interim injunction to allow the Minardi F1 Team to take part in the 2005 Australian Grand Prix practice and qualifying sessions on Saturday, March 5, with the cars in 2004 chassis and engine specification," said a statement from the team.

Although Minardi has been given this reprieve, the team will have to wait and see if it will be permitted to race on Sunday. "A further hearing is scheduled for 14.15 hrs on March 5, at which time the FIA, if it wishes, can appear and respond to the application," the statement concluded.

Meanwhile, Ferrari's Jean Todt, who was not happy about Minardi running its 2004 spec cars even before the stewards made their decision, said there was no grudge against the Faenza team. "It is not a question of trying to be nasty to Minardi," said Todt, according to Reuters.

"We respect Minardi a lot, personally I do respect the small teams who have to fight so hard to find the finance and all that," he added. "That said, you have a game and if you want to play in it the rules should be the same for everybody."

Todt also said that Ferrari would not stand in Minardi's way if all the other teams agreed that Paul Stoddart's squad could use the cars. "I've always said that if it comes to the teams, and if everybody has signed, Ferrari will not block and will sign. I don't feel that it is up to the teams to decide but it is what we did."

Until today it appeared that Red Bull and possibly Jordan would also not permit Minardi's cars. But those two teams have since accepted that they are bound by the agreement given by previous bosses before the teams were taken over. So it would seem that Minardi may have the nine signatures it needs -- but first comes Saturday's Court hearing.

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Paul Stoddart , Jean Todt
Teams Ferrari , Minardi , Jordan