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FEBRUARY 7, 2003

McLaren and Williams considering anti-FIA legal action

There have been whispers since the January 15 meeting that McLaren and Williams may be considering taking their gripes about the FIA's interpretations of the regulations to the court of arbitration at the International Chamber of Commerce. Both teams have expressed reservations about the situation and feel that it may be necessary to challenge the FIA's position on a matter of principle.

It is difficcult to see what will be gained by such a move as a hearing at the court of arbitration will take a minimum of six months and will cost around a millon dollars to organise. Even if the teams were to win (and there are no guarantees that they would) most of the 2003 season would have been run before there was a decision. In addition such a move would generate very considerable negative publicity for the World Championship which Ron Dennis seemed to indicate recently that he was not keen to do. The other element which needs to be taken into consideration is that negotiations are pushing ahead to find a settlement between the manufacturers, the banks which own the Formula One group and Bernie Ecclestone to find a solution which will secure the future of the F1 commercial situation in the years ahead and such a deal will inevitably require the agreement of the FIA, in its role as custodian of the sport and legal actions against the federation may be seen as being detrimental to the whole process.

Officially McLaren says that it does not intend to say anything about any legal action that may be planned.