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Green fears Melbourne protests

NEWS STORY
23/02/2017

As predicted, Force India Technical Director, Andy Green, believes the ongoing suspension row will overshadow the season opener in Melbourne next month.

Following an initial exchange of letters between Ferrari and Charlie Whiting, a number of meetings have taken place in response to the Italian outfit's 'concerns' over the legality of the suspension system used by Mercedes and Red Bull and understood to be under consideration by several others, but (surprise, surprise) the teams cannot find a solution they can all agree on.

While the teams consider a number of options, including a return to traction control, it is hoped that a new directive might be issued before Melbourne which would allow teams to make the necessary alterations, should they be required.

However, Whiting's opinion is just that, an opinion and not the letter of the law, and therefore it is entirely possible the first race of the season will be marred by protests as the Melbourne stewards are left to decide the matter. Indeed, counter-protests and appeals could then see the matter go before the FIA International Court of Appeal… hardly the best showcase for the sport under its new ownership.

Speaking at yesterday's launch of the Force India VJM10, Technical Director, Andy Green, admitted that he can foresee problems in Melbourne, but confirmed that Force India won't join in.

"Yes, I can definitely see it happening," he told reporters when asked about the possibility of protests. "However, we will stand back and see how it develops and then react to it like we normally do.

"We have been testing various concepts for a while now," he admitted, "and each has got some merits. We really want to see how the tyres perform, what the balance is, and where the weakness of the tyres is so we can then attack that with a mechanical solution.

"We cannot have all the options on the table ready and waiting, depending on what Pirelli's tyre performs like. So we have to wait, and hopefully in that time, the FIA will give everybody some guidance about what is and isn't allowed, because that is what we need at the moment. There is too big a grey area."

Green believes the FIA is the architect of its own problem in this case as it should have clarified the rules at the outset and banned the systems when they were first being considered.

"I would have liked some more clarity on the suspension side," he said. "That really muddied the waters and it is unnecessary. It is under the skin. I don't think it is great for the show.

"The fans don't know any difference and it can be incredibly complicated the systems that are being run," he added, "and expensive. There are marginal gains for quite substantial expense. I would have liked to have seen all of that nipped in the bud a bit earlier, and not been allowed to develop to where it has got to now."

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