More trouble ahead?

Despite assurances from the organisers of the upcoming French and British Grands Prix that the events will not suffer any crisis such as Indianapolis did, there is room for doubt. The seven Michelin-shod teams that withdrew from Indy have to face...

Despite assurances from the organisers of the upcoming French and British Grands Prix that the events will not suffer any crisis such as Indianapolis did, there is room for doubt. The seven Michelin-shod teams that withdrew from Indy have to face the FIA at a disciplinary hearing on Wednesday and Minardi boss Paul Stoddart believes future races may depend on what punishment the governing body hands out.

Stoddart, who is in the thick of the argument despite his team using Bridgestone tyres, told the BBC that any heavy-handedness on the part of the FIA could result in the teams refusing to race. "In the worst possible situation of some kind of draconian penalty, would the other teams race?" said Stoddart. "I think we'd have a meeting and you wouldn't guarantee it."

According to FIA president Max Mosley the punishment for the Michelin teams could be anything from a reprimand to being banned from the sport, although popular opinion currently speculates that a heavy fine is more likely. Banning the teams would just create further controversy and ill-feeling towards F1, something it can little afford at the moment.

"It could be anything," said Stoddart, who believes more than a reprimand would be wrong as the teams were innocent victims of the situation. "I have heard unofficial reports of what it might be, ranging from a $2.5m fine to a suspended ban, to all kinds of possible things. I would hope Max would come to his senses but who knows?"

Last week Mosley said that the teams would get the chance at Wednesday's World Motor Sport Council hearing to present their side of the story. "The atmosphere will be calm and polite," he said. "The World Motor Sport Council members come from all over the world and will undoubtedly take a decision that is fair and balanced."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Paul Stoddart
Teams Minardi