Zurich Gnome

The journal of a Swiss-based motor-racing enthusiast.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Restrictions and Limitations

The new Minardi (sorry, Squadra Toro Rosso) appeared at Jerez yesterday. It seems to be fairly heavily influenced by its sister car the RB1, which is fair enough, but what concerns me is the engine.

The FIA are allowing any team that does not have access to a competitive 2.4 litre V8, to use a 3 litre V10 with a rev-limit that may be changed "from time to time". Minardi, being a financially-constrained team, fell into this category. STR, in my opinion, do not. They certainly have the ability to go to Cosworth, their current V10 supplier, and ask for a supply of V8s. Cosworth are now independent and I imagine they are keen to sell their engines to anyone with a suitable supply of cash. Given the share swapping going on between Gerhard Berger and Dieter Mateschitz, it's surely safe to assume that this is the case at STR.

The FIA are now in the position of being able to control the speed of one team; namely STR. What happens if Tonio Liuzzi manages to qualify 4th in Bahrain? Or finish on the podium? I imagine there'll be an uproar and the rev-limit will be reduced. But by how much? And what if STR finish 7th or 11th?

And if the FIA have set the limit too low, will it be increased if both STR cars are miles off the pace? In which case it would be worth STR sandbagging for a couple of races and then, when the limit is raised, blitzing the opposition. What great publicity for Red Bull that would be. Surely teams like MF1 and Williams have a right to be competing on equal terms?

The FIA must inform STR that a competitive engine is available, and that the team has until the start of the European season to comply with article 5.1 of the Technical Regulations. Otherwise there'll be tantrums, and we can do without any more of those.


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