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Stoddart: We will race in Australia

NEWS STORY
14/02/2005

In the wake of a series of 'sensationalized' reports claiming that Minardi faces possible exclusion from the forthcoming Australian Grand Prix, team boss Paul Stoddart attempted to clarify the situation.

"Total rubbish," he told Melbourne-based Sports Entertainment Network (SEN). "It's a lot more complicated than perhaps it's been made to sound on some of the websites, but the simple version goes something like this: the 2005 regulations that were brought in last year under a very interesting safety clause within our governing agreement, which didn't have the support of the teams and was procedurally flawed in the way it was brought in, has left the teams not really knowing what regulations they're racing to in 2005. It's my belief, and that belief is backed up by some pretty solid legal advice, that the 2004 regulations are still in force.

"As such, we've elected not to waste a lot of money that a team like Minardi can ill afford to do, by doing an interim car, as it's called, that may be racing to 2005 regulations, maybe if they're legal. We are going to stand by, as I said, some very solid legal advice that the 2004 regulations are still in full force and effect, and we will be racing our 2004 cars legally in Melbourne, Malaysia and Bahrain. After that we are introducing our 2005 car."

Asked if it is true that Ferrari is the one team that has objected to Minardi's desire to run the 2004 car in the first three races, Ferrari, Stoddart replied: "That's absolutely correct."

Last week, talking to reporters in London, Max Mosley said: "If there was no prior agreement and Minardi presented to us a 2004 car which would be illegal under the current regulations, the scrutineers would not put a sticker on it and it would never get out of the pits in Australia."

"Well, that's a matter of opinion. I don't think it will come to that. I would like to think that sanity will prevail. But you never know in Formula One. We're ready for that situation, totally ready for it, and were that to happen we would race under protest. And were a protest not to be entertained at the track it certainly would in the Victorian Supreme Court, and we've taken some pretty solid legal advice and, if necessary we will be presenting ourselves up there and asking for injunctive relief to race under protest for a case that we know we would win ultimately when the arbitration was heard, some months further down the line."

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