News and views on motorsports

Monday, April 03, 2006

Spirit Vs Letter Of The Law

It seems that some teams at the back of the grid aren't happy at all about Toro Rosso's performance this season. According to the news, Midland and Super Aguri wrote to the FIA demanding that Toro Rosso be made ineligible for constructors points this season. They propose however, that the their drivers be still eligible for points scoring in the drivers champsionship.

As we all know, special dispensation was given to Minardi last year to use a rev limited V10 engine for this season due to the Faenza team's extreme financial constraints. However, when Red Bull took over the little team, along with the right to compete in Formula 1, they inherited that dispensation from the FIA. Now we all know that Red Bull is not exactly in financial difficulty. In fact, one could argue that a so called "independent" that can afford to effectively field 4 cars, two of which have the latest Ferrari powerplants, have very little constraints at all.

It is controversial. The letter of the law states that the FIA have the right to allow the use of a V10 engine. Herein lies the controversy. Its up to the FIA to make such allowances. However, in the spirit of things one could argue that the FIA should not have allowed that in the case of Toro Rosso.

One comment that I have over this is that, the backmarker teams are implying that Toro Rosso's performance is solely due to the engine and nothing else. This overlooks the fact that Toro Rosso are using what is effectively a Red Bull RB1 chassis. This in itself is another source of discontent. For if I'm not mistaken, Super Aguri was prevented from using ex-BAR chassis or even designs but Dietrich Mateschitz being a buddy of Max is allowed to do whatever he damned well please. However, the main point here is, the performance is also due to the chassis and not solely where their fingers are pointing, that is to the engines. I'm saying this based solely on the news stories which do not make any mention of protest over the chassis.

Super Aguri and Midland should be reminded that their respective Honda and Toyota engines work fine when fitted to the works cars. In fact, I'd venture they'd do well anywher else except on the woefully obsolete Super Aguri and the simply woeful Midland.

Of course if the Toro Rossos didn't do so well in Melbourne, when they made the "mistake" of overtaking Michael Schumacher, this issue would probably not have arisen. (Incidentally, Michael Schumacher himself did not attribute getting passed to some V10 performance advantage. Unless he's trying to help a Ferrari ally.) Still, it does not mean that Toro Rossos have no right at all to do well, which what the backmarker alliance seem to imply. Of course, they deserve whatever they get and hell, its a joy to see them actually doing so good. After all, it is a V10 thats limited to 16000 RPM which is well away from the stratospheric 19000 RPM it did last year.

I'd guess that either Max will do nothing because he needs friend Mateschitz on his side or the rev limits will come down. 15000 RPM? That sounds a bit much given that a 1989 Honda V10 revs to that limit. Surely their not suggesting that sort of performance level? That would be unfair to Toro Rosso.

Its hard to make a judgement here. Whatever decision is probably the right one. But in closing I have to reiterate my point about Red Bull. Now Max makes such a big issue about protecting the "independents." But really, a company that can buy out two teams, run four cars a weekend, afford to steal the top engineers from the manufacturers and in the process drive up salaries all round not to mention spending more money than the so called "manufacturers" in the last 12 months. Is this Mosley's definition of an independent? Oh thats right according to him Ferrari aren't a manufacturer.

Red coloured crap.

1 comment:

brookster said...

Spot on about the engine and chassis combination: that car, in the revised form, is going to be quick, without a doubt. And as for Midland: yes, woeful is the word.

For this season, I'm happy to Toro Rosso run about: they're not going to achieve that much, I think. What do they do next year? They can't use the loophole to get the RB2: They'll have to get a better engine, they'll have to design a car from scratch. The funding won't be massive: Berger owns 50%: is he really going to throw in cash, or is it "not a real ownership"?

Cheers for the linkage. Yet to do my Oz review (real life in the way) but I'll pimp you out. Some excellent writing.