BAR boss Nick Fry claims Jenson Button has been unfairly robbed of the chance to break his grand prix duck in Spain this weekend.
Button and team-mate Takuma Sato are forced to sit out this weekend’s Spanish Grand Prix, and the Monaco race two weeks later, after BAR-Honda were found guilty of breaking Formula One rules and banned for two races.
But Fry is adamant his team did not break the rules and claims the FIA’s punishment is “grossly disproportionate”.
He insists BAR are back to their best after a difficult start to the season and believes recent testing form shows they are fast enough to challenge for victory this weekend – if they are allowed to compete.
Fry, who has vowed to fight BAR’s ban, said: “I can only go on our technical team and we are confident that our system complies with the rules.
“It was confirmed by the FIA that there is nothing unusual about our system whatsoever, it is a standard Formula One fuel system.
“Our practice times at Mugello were very impressive so we came here to win a race. It is especially disappointing for both of them. The next two races are crucial to us and given our performance in the last race and given our performance in testing, these are both races we can win.”
Fry is expected to take legal action against the FIA’s decision, with a civil action likely.
Minardi boss Paul Stoddart provoked outrage from the FIA when he won an injunction against a steward’s decision to prevent his team qualifying for the Australian Grand Prix.
The FIA threatened to pull world-class motorsport out of Australia as a result but a similar argument is possible following yesterday’s decision.
Fry admitted no decision has yet been made on who BAR should appeal to, adding: “The jurisdiction under which we appeal is yet to be determined.”
But Formula One commercial rights holder Bernie Ecclestone has warned Fry not to take civil action.
He said: “I thought it was a very fair thing to do to be honest. I feel they got off quite lightly. I wouldn’t want to go to a civil court personally, I think it’s a big risk. I think they would be silly to do that. I think it would be bad for them.”