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GP Week : Issue 164
It’s like 1994 all over again. Red Bull have a button, but they say they’ve never pushed the button, and until anyone can prove otherwise there’s nothing the FIA can do to punish what appears to be a flagrant violation of the rulebook. For those with short memories, the 1994 Formula One season saw Benetton accused of running an illegal traction control device known as Option 13. The software was present on the car, but because the FIA could never conclusively prove that it had been used, the team were unpunished. This time around, Red Bull have an option on the RB8 that would allow the team to change the ride height of the car in parc ferme conditions, a clear violation of the rules. But according to team principal Christian Horner, the team have never used the magic button, making the ride height scandal a non-issue. The so-called non-issue hinges on Red Bull’s ability – should they exercise it – to manually change the ride height of the car in parc ferme by pressing a button. Article 34.5 of the FIA Sporting Regulations explicitly states “In order that the scrutineers may be completely satisfied that no alterations have been made to the suspension systems or aerodynamic configuration of the car (with the exception of the front wing) whilst in post qualifying parc ferme, it must be clear from physical inspection that changes cannot be made without the use of tools.” “We never changed the ride height in parc ferme,” Horner said after news of the morally ambiguous option broke. “It is a non-issue.” Horner’s reply merely begs the question – why have a potentially illegal device on your car if you do not intend to use it? And in a season that has seen almost every element of the RB8 questioned by the team’s rivals, why introduce components that will only cause controversy up and down the pitlane? “There are a lot of parts that are changed manually on the car, but a tool was used,” Horner explained. “The suspension has never been changed once it's in parc ferme. Never. Honestly, it's completely trivial. “Basically what was on the car in Canada has been on [the car] at a lot of other races as well, and at no point has it been adjusted in parc ferme. It is a question of whether you do it with a tool or manually, and it is done with a tool.” AND RED BULL PUSH THE BUTTON ... NOT THAT BUTTON EDITOR: Adam Hay-Nicholls email@example.com ASSISTANT EDITORS: Naoise Holohan, Kate Walker F1 ANALYST: Peter Windsor MOTOGP EDITOR: Michael Scott firstname.lastname@example.org RALLY EDITOR: Martin Holmes email@example.com PRODUCTION ARTIST: Cedric Dufour PHOTOGRAPHY: Sutton Motorsport Images www.sutton-images.com Keith Sutton firstname.lastname@example.org: Mark Sutton, Patrik Lundin, Dirk Klynsmith, Emily Davenport PUBLISHER: Chris Lambden email@example.com PUBLISHED BY: Grand Prix Week Ltd 61 Watling Street, Towcester Northants NN12 6AG United Kingdom ADVERTISING: n Richard Partridge firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: + 44 1273 232 566 Mob: + 44 7771 567 644 n Mark Sutton email@example.com n Gaye Grinsted (WRC/MotoGP) firstname.lastname@example.org Ph: +44 (0) 207 254 8796 Mob: +44 (0) 7921 283 070 n Adam Hay-Nicholls email@example.com n SE Asia, Australasia GPWEEK (Australia) firstname.lastname@example.org .com WEEK F1 >>> NEWS 4 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: