Licence problems for Toyota?

The FIA is investigating a problem with Toyota's superlicence, which was apparently granted without the correct paperwork from German authorities. Toyota, which is based in Germany, was not, until recently, in possesion of a current national...

The FIA is investigating a problem with Toyota's superlicence, which was apparently granted without the correct paperwork from German authorities. Toyota, which is based in Germany, was not, until recently, in possesion of a current national licence from the country's sporting authority, the Deutsche Motor Sport Bund (DMSB).

The rules state that an FIA superlicence is issued to applicants that already have a national licence. It seems that Toyota had failed to renew its national licence since 2000. The team said the matter had been settled with the DMSB and a new FIA superlicence was issued after Imola.

"We've had a problem with our national licence," Toyota motorsport president John Howett was quoted as saying by F1 Racing magazine. "This has now been resolved with the German authorities and the revised documents have now been submitted to the FIA. They've now issued us with a new Superlicence. But this was a genuine administrative mistake which we sincerely regret."

Reportedly Toyota only became aware of the discrepancy in paperwork when it sought to appeal Ralf Schumacher's time penalty given after the San Marino Grand Prix, which dropped him out of the points. Howett said it was simply an error and that the FIA is "treating the matter sensibly".

Despite Toyota being issued with a new superlicence, the matter is still being investigated. What penalty, if any, might be imposed if the FIA decides it is an infringement of the rules is unknown. Speculation suggests the team may be stripped of its points from the first four races but Howett believes the mistake should not be too harshly punished.

"If they apply a sanction we have to accept it," he told Reuters. "The FIA has the right to apply sanctions but I hope it will be commensurate with the size of the error. We have tried to be completely transparent. This has been blown out of proportion to what we see as an unintentional and fairly minor error relating to the paperwork."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Ralf Schumacher