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  Wednesday, 26 June, 2002, 15:14 GMT 16:14 UK
F1 sets up team orders probe
Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello face the media after Wednesday's FIA hearing in Paris
Schumacher and Barrichello escaped censure
Motorsport's governing body has set up a working party to investigate the issue of team orders following the outrage at the contrived finish to last month's Austrian Grand Prix.

The FIA is also to invite the public to suggest ways in which the widely-condemned conclusion to the race can be avoided in future.

Ferrari and their drivers Michael Schumacher and Rubens Barrichello were fined $1m on Wednesday following an FIA hearing into the final-lap incident at the A1-Ring.

On team orders Barrichello had to let World Championship leader Schumacher overtake him in the final few yards to claim victory.


We all recognise what is happening is undesirable but none of us can think of a solution to the problem
Max Mosley

But the FIA penalty was imposed for the subsequent antics on the podium - when Schumacher pushed Barrichello to the top step and handed him the winner's trophy - rather then the race itself.

FIA president Max Mosley admitted he was "annoyed" that the world council was prevented from imposing any sanction on Ferrari's race tactics.

But he insisted after discussing the issue at length, the council were "legally and even morally constrained from doing anything."

"It was upsetting, because Rubens had clearly won the race, and I sat there feeling irritated but impotent," Mosley said.

He explained Ferrari's "defence" centred on their right as competitors to pursue the drivers championship, which they had narrowly missed out on three times in the past five years.

"If a team does something to win, and does not break any specific rules, you have to acknowledge their right to do that," Mosley added.

Max Mosley arrives at FIA headquarters in Paris for the Ferrari hearing
Mosley arrives at FIA headquarters for the Ferrari hearing

Four members of the FIA's world council will form a working party to discuss whether any changes can be enforced to avoid a repeat scenario.

And the FIA will open a special section of their website, www.fia.com, over the next few days in the hope that the public might provide a workable solution.

"I hope people will come forward with their suggestions," Mosley said. "We want them to concentrate on telling us what they think can be done and how we can it put it right.

"We all know what it is wrong, and recognise that what is happening is undesirable. But at the moment, none of us can think of a solution to the problem.

"What we have to establish is whether there should be a new rule on team orders, how do you enforce it, and what should the penalty be for any breach?"


It is up to the other teams to make their cars go faster and then the issue won't arise
Max Mosley

Mosley added any changes could be brought in reasonably swiftly, possibly by the end of the season in October, if a satisfactory ruling was forthcoming.

"We have our laws but we can change them if we have a democratic vote on it," he added.

Mosley admitted he was "astounded" by the deluge of e-mails and faxes that flooded into the FIA criticising the Austrian farce.

But he insisted the onus was on competitors such as McLaren and Williams to ensure Ferrari's current pre-eminence does not make a similar situation likely in future.

"I suspect that as long as they retain their current degree of superiority it won't happen again," Mosley said, referring to Schumacher's 46-point lead in the drivers championship.

"But it is up to the other teams to make their cars go faster and then the issue won't arise."

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
BBC Five Live's Jonathan Legard
"The FIA haven't done very much"
Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone
"There's nothing anyone can do, that's how it is"
 VOTE RESULTS
Was a $1m fine enough punishment for Ferrari?

Yes
 29.94% 

No
 70.06% 

10309 Votes Cast

Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion
See also:

12 May 02 | Formula One
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