Prodrive are facing more uncertainty with the news that the FIA hearing over the legality of their car is being postponed from next week to a later date, with rivals Williams now looking to take the matter to the civil courts.
Prodrive had hoped that the hearing, scheduled for 24th October, would settle the issue over their entry s legality however the issue now looks set to drag on for longer. The reason for the postponement of the hearing has not yet been stated, although it is possible that the reason is that Williams are not prepared to accept the court s jurisdiction and are pursuing the case through the civil courts.
Williams have stated that they would not even send a member of their team to attend the ICA s hearing as an interested party, even though the court hearing came about through their complaint. Williams have also notified that FIA that they would not be bound by the outcome of the hearing.
It is unclear as to why Williams are taking this stance although it is possibly because they believe that the customer car issue does not come under the FIA s sporting jurisdiction. Instead, the issue falls under the Concorde Agreement and this is not part of the F1 regulations. If this is their reasoning, Williams are entitled to take the matter to the civil courts probably via the arbitration route regardless of the ICA s verdict.
It is possible that through this issue, which in turn has led to the breakdown of talks between Prodrive and McLaren, Prodrive will not be able to start the 2008 season on time. Prodrive are still hoping that McLaren will provide them with a chassis for the 2008 season although it is believed that it is too late for them to run with the same chassis as the factory team.