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Q&A with Max Mosley at the Friday press conference

NEWS STORY
07/05/2005

Q: (Tony Dodgins - Autosport) On the subject of BAR, I think 11 years ago we had the Benetton situation and in that instance I think the ruling was that the ability to cheat was there but the best evidence or the inference was that it wasn't taken. A similar scenario apparently this time so why the difference?
Max Mosley: Well, in the case of Benetton in '94, we found the software for launch control, but in the aftermath of the Senna accident, we'd given the boxes back and we were not in a position to prove that that system had been used. They swore it hadn't, so really, it was very difficult for us to proceed at that point, so we took the next best course which was the lay the facts in front of the press and let the team answer questions. It was really all we could do.

In this case we pumped the fuel out and were told ‘that's it, there's no more fuel.' We then had a better look and found another 15 litres in the car, and when that was pumped out the car was under weight. Well that was open and shut: 594.6 kilos without the fuel. That is an illegal car. There's no escape. And so that's the difference. We had them – the expression is – banged to rights, whereas with Benetton, there was the possibility they could have done it but if they said they hadn't we had no evidence that they had. We could only have proved it if we had not given the boxes back which was a mistake.

Q: (Peter Windsor – F1 Racing) Just following on from that, if it was an open and shut case as you described and it was under 600 kilograms as you described, why is it, and I'm sorry for the naivety of this question if it is na´ve, why is it that three stewards were unable to find the car illegal after the race?
MM: I think that, as judges of first instance sometimes do, they did not interpret the regulations properly. They allowed themselves to be convinced with all sorts of data that the car had not gone under 600 kilos. But there were two problems with that. One is that you can't prove that by using data, that's what article 2.6 says. You've got to do it by physical inspection. The second problem was that that data assumed that the rate of fuel consumption was constant. It was the same in the first stint, the second stint, the third stint. There was no means of knowing that, so for all they knew, the car could have gone down under 600. But anyway, whether it did or not was irrelevant because the actual car weighed less than 600 kilos. They got it wrong, it's just that simple and that's why we appealed. Usually it's the other way around, the stewards do something and the competitor appeals. On this occasion it was us. It was quite clearly wrong, their decision, and one can understand that. It's very easy to sit down afterwards and criticise stewards under huge pressure, all sorts of data being thrown at them. Sometimes it's difficult to see the question clearly but yes, they got it wrong.

Q: (Joe Saward – F1 Grand Prix Special) Max, you were talking about the teams going to meetings or their lack of going to meetings. You have a means of getting them to go to meetings by calling an F1 Commission which you haven't done since last June. Don't you think that that would be a very good way of getting everyone around the table to start talking?
MM: The problem is that they don't have to go to a Formula One Commission and all you're doing there is you're calling the same people together but driving the poor promoters, some of whom have to come from places like Australia and Brazil, completely mad because they've got to come and sit and listen to this discussion. If the teams don't want to discuss, you can't make them discuss. You can take the horse to water, you can't make it drink. If they don't want to discuss in a meeting of the kind we've had time and time again since I've been in this position, then they're not going to discuss at a Formula One Commission meeting. They do not actually have to come to a Formula One Commission meeting, so that would just be a very clumsy way of trying to get them, but it wouldn't work. If they don't want to come, they are not going to come.

Q: (Joe Saward – F1 Grand Prix Special) But you haven't invited them to an F1 Commission meeting.
MM: No, for the reasons that I've just explained.

Q: (Michael Schmidt – Auto Motor und Sport) Why doesn't the FIA define a black-and-white rule like weight in one paragraph, quite clearly, so everyone can understand it, even the most stupid people, because if you had done it in one paragraph saying the weight is, without fuel, then probably nobody would have ever tried to find this loophole?
MM: Back in '94, when the Arrows was eliminated, because this was when refuelling first started, there was discussion, it is actually in the minutes there of the technical working group, that they were considering another rule. In the end though, there's a rule that the car must weigh more than 600 kilos at all times, and the technical delegate must be satisfied that it weighed 600 kilos at all times and it's got to be by physical inspection. There are only two ways of making sure of that. One is to do what we do which is take all of the fuel out at the end and weigh it and if the car is 600 kilos or more you'll know that it cannot have been under 600 during the race. The other way is it to exercise the power we have of stopping the car just before its pit stop and weighing it. That is actually allowed, under 68a of the sporting regulations. But that would destroy the race. So among all the technical directors, it was blindingly obvious and everybody knew. They've been pumping out for years. There was never any question, And one does have to ask the question that if BAR thought that there was any question of weighing the car with fuel: why did they not query the procedure on the four occasions in 2004 when we pumped their fuel out. You won't find a technical director anywhere in the pits who doesn't understand completely clearly that the only way the technical delegate can be sure that the car was over 600 kilos throughout the race is to take the fuel out and weigh it. It never occurred to anybody, including anybody in the technical working group, that there was any doubt about it and I must say that I'm very surprised if anybody in BAR or Honda thinks there's any doubt about it. If they'd suddenly come from Mars, presented with all of this, never talked to any of another team, never employed somebody who had worked for the other teams: possible. But anybody who lives in Formula One: impossible to believe that it's OK to leave 15 litres in the car, tell the FIA it's empty and then hope that you get away with it.

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