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McLaren, Williams challenge FIA over rules
Alan Baldwin | February 20, 2003 19:06 IST
McLaren and Williams accused Formula One's governing body of "dumbing down" the sport on Thursday and said they would go to arbitration to challenge recent rule changes.
"Williams and McLaren believe that the FIA (International Automobile Federation) is in breach of the contract that covers the running of the world championship," the two teams said in a joint statement.
"While continuing to take part in the 2003 championship, the teams will be seeking to challenge the FIA's rule changes through the sport's arbitration process."
The season starts in Australia on March 9 with a raft of changes, including one lap qualifying and no refuelling between qualifying and the race. Engineers will no longer be able to changes settings on a car from a distance using telemetry.
Traction control and launch control systems will also be phased out in other measures designed to cut costs and try to make the sport more competitive.
Williams finished second, and McLaren third, behind the all-conquering Ferrari team last season.
The two teams denied that Formula One is facing a crisis and echoed fears expressed by the sport's carmakers last month that the changes could stop Formula One being a showcase for the highest level of technology and research.
"The FIA is trying to 'dumb down' Formula One," said McLaren boss Ron Dennis. "It has introduced sweeping new regulations for the 2003 season without proper consultation with the teams.
"We want Formula One to be stable, well-run and professionally administered to ensure the continued success of the sport."
Frank Williams added: "Some of these changes are against the spirit of Formula One, its restless drive for excellence and its need to live on the technological cutting edge.
"Unfortunately only a fraction of ... revenues generated by Formula One remain in the sport and go to the teams. Addressing this issue is the surest way of delivering stable and successful independent teams."
Two teams, Arrows and Prost have disappeared from the grid in little more than a year because of financial problems.