Stoddart defends qualifying strategy

Paul Stoddart has expressed surprise that other teams didn't make the same qualifying strategy as Minardi and denied he had found a 'loophole' in the new regulations. Neither Justin Wilson nor Jos Verstappen completed their one flying lap ...

Paul Stoddart has expressed surprise that other teams didn't make the same qualifying strategy as Minardi and denied he had found a 'loophole' in the new regulations.

Neither Justin Wilson nor Jos Verstappen completed their one flying lap in Saturday qualifying in order that the cars would not be held under parc fermé conditions, as decreed by the FIA regulation changes. This meant that Minardi could work on its cars overnight before the race.

Stoddart believes that every team had the option to act the same way: "It was an opportunity every team manager had discussed with the FIA to not have your car captured in Park Ferme overnight," he told Australian television show In Pit Lane.

"The price you paid was lining up at the back of the grid. Because we were going out first we had the cars were we wanted them... If the race had of stayed wet we would have been heroes."

Stoddart used McLaren's Kimi Raikkonen as an example, who qualified 15th after Saturday's session: "If Raikonen had come in after his problems in qualifying he would have started 20th but at least McLaren could have the benefit of working on the car all night as well as being able to decide their fuel and tyre strategy right up to the beginning of the race."

Although the Minardi boss didn't break the rules, and FIA president Max Mosley conceded Stoddart had not done anything wrong, it's doubtful if the same scenario would be permitted again.

"We were also surprised, even if they had the right to do that," Mosley said after the race, in regard to Minardi's qualifying strategy. "We will have to think about keeping that open or not in the rules. I believe we will probably forbid this situation but we will have to talk to the teams about that."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Jos Verstappen , Kimi Raikkonen , Justin Wilson , Paul Stoddart
Teams McLaren , Minardi