Veteran CAR F1 correspondent Maurice Hamilton says that the dispute over the legality of the BAR Honda at Imola hinges on the question of how an F1 car's weight should be checked.

Veteran CAR F1 correspondent Maurice Hamilton says that the dispute over the legality of the BAR Honda at Imola hinges on the question of how an F1 car's weight should be checked.


Speaking to the BBC, Hamilton said "The whole question is the interpretation of what is a pretty grey area. And that is the state of a Formula One car when weighed. Weight in F1 is absolutely everything because the lighter the car is, the faster it goes - so the governing body set a limit of 600kg below which a car is illegal.


But the question is, "How do you weigh it?


"The BAR interpretation is (it should be weighed) under operating conditions. The team says it has to have a small amount of fuel on board to operate and that is what was found in this tank.


"It was a fuel tank the scrutineers knew about and was not deliberately hidden. But the governing body is saying 'No, it should be absolutely empty'.


"The fuel system in F1 is very complicated - it has got a lot of working parts and lots of separate tanks to make the system work, to stop the fuel sloshing about, basically.


"It needs a small amount in what they call the collector tank and if that is not there the car simply won't run," he added.


Hamilton said that whatever the Court of Appeal’s ruling turned out to be, "when you are messing around with weight, which is so important in F1, you really have to be careful.


"Otherwise, the interpretation is bound to be similar to the one the FIA has taken, which is you are cheating.


“So if it is a grey area you have to tread very carefully and I think BAR have been a touch naive. If BAR is disqualified it would be calamitous news for the whole team and Jenson Button.


“There are 600 people who work for BAR”, Hamilton added. "If the team was disqualified they would not be working for the rest of the year," he said.