BAR Honda could be kicked out of the F1 championship if rumours that the team deliberately cheated, by using an undisclosed second petrol tank at the San Marino Grand Prix, prove to be true.

BAR Honda could be kicked out of the F1 championship if rumours that the team deliberately cheated, by using an undisclosed second petrol tank at the San Marino Grand Prix, prove to be true.


on Tuesday reported that Jenson Button's Honda, which finished third in the race, was equipped with a second, undisclosed, and therefore illegal, petrol tank.


The magazine claims that Honda official Geoff Willis lied to race stewards when questioned about alleged irregularities that surfaced when the car was weighed after the race.


Max Mosley, the president of F1’s governing body, the FIA, said that any team caught cheating would be dealt with: "If anybody is caught trying to cheat, they will be excluded from the world championship - regardless of which team it is”.


The FIA International Court of Appeal will deal with the case at a hearing in Paris on May 4. FIA official Charlie Whiting is said to have become suspicious after the two Hondas recorded very fast lap times and managed to stay on the track much longer than other teams without refuelling.


CARtoday.com reported on Tuesday that when Button's car was weighed after all petrol had been siphoned off, it weighed below the minimum required (600 kg). Whiting is then said to have asked Willis if the car had a second petrol tank.


Cars are allowed to have extra tanks, but only if they are disclosed to the FIA. The magazine says that Button's car had an extra tank with a capacity of 13,5 litres, which - once burnt away - allowed the car to be 0,4 seconds faster per lap.


FIA-appointed race stewards on Sunday asked the team for an explanation why the car weighed less than the minimum 600 kg and accepted Honda's explanation, but the FIA appealed the decision.


BAR Honda team boss Nick Fry insisted that the Brackley-based team did not deliberately run an underweight car at Imola.


"This team is owned by two blue-chip international corporations with huge integrity,” Fry said. "Does anyone really think that we would deliberately do anything against the rules? We've hidden nothing."


Fry said the stewards had been given access to all BAR's data, adding that BAR used a high-pressure fuel system which needs a collecting device to run the pump.


"The FIA has seen the device and inspected it several times before. They are fully familiar with the system.


"We are hanging on to the basic belief that right will prevail at the end. At no time was the car light and I don't think that we've done anything wrong.


"This is F1, the pinnacle of motor racing and it is very competitive. We're all aware of that,” Fry added. “(But) if anyone is trying to destabilise us, that will not work. We're bigger than that."


Meanwhile, it has been reported that Toyota's appeal against Ralf Schumacher's 25-second penalty for a pit lane infringement will be heard by the FIA on May 3.


Stewards said Toyota had released Schumacher from his second pit stop before it was safe to do so. The penalty meant fellow German Nick Heidfeld, who initially finished ninth in his Williams-BMW, was promoted to eighth.