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BAR still hopes to race at Barcelona

5/5/2005

BARCELONA, Spain -- BAR consulted its lawyers on
Thursday to find a way to compete in Sunday's Spanish Formula
One Grand Prix despite being banned from the next two races.

Team boss Nick Fry said in a statement that Honda-powered
BAR was "appalled" by the punishment meted out on Thursday, the
harshest imposed on a team in 20 years, and was considering
its options.

"Obviously we want to race this weekend," he said.

Fry slammed the ruling by the International Automobile
Federation's (FIA) appeal court in Paris as "wholly and grossly
disproportionate."

While the court failed to find evidence that BAR had
cheated, the team was accused of breaching the technical
regulations and showing "regrettable negligence and lack of
transparency."

The FIA had accused the team of cheating and sought its
exclusion from the championship after allegations that it ran
light at Imola and had a concealed secondary fuel tank.

The ruling stripped Britain's Jenson Button of third place
at the San Marino Grand Prix and Japan's Takuma Sato of fifth
place, sidelining both until the European Grand Prix at the
Nuerburgring on May 29.

It meant that BAR, championship runners-up last year to
Ferrari with Button racking up 10 podium finishes, will arrive
at the seventh race of the season with no points.

BAR also has a suspended six-month ban hanging over its
heads for the next year.

Fry said the legal team, including prominent British
barrister David Pannick, was investigating the possibility of
obtaining an injunction to allow the team to race.

"We need to get some papers together today...I think if
there is to be a hearing in court, it will take place tomorrow,"
he told Reuters.

"Our plan at the moment is to stay here.

"It's all in the hands of the legal experts, we've got the
best people available working on this and they need to advise
me," he added.

Fry said the appeal court hearing had disregarded the
evidence presented to it. He said the FIA had inspected the fuel
system in both Malaysia and Bahrain without question.

"The team proved that it complied with the current
regulations and the FIA now acknowledges that the regulations
are unclear," Fry said in a statement.

"We repeat that at no time did BAR Honda run underweight at
the San Marino Grand Prix and this was also unchallenged by the
FIA," he added.

Sunday's race, and Monaco after it, were both ones that BAR
could have hoped to win. Button holds the Circuit de Catalunya
lap record and was second in Monaco last year.

"I have spoken obviously to both Jenson and Takuma, they are
both fully aware of the situation," said Fry. "They want to get
racing and we came here to see if we could win the race so it is
especially disappointing for both of them.

"The next two races are critical for us and given our
performance in the last race and in practice, these are both
races that we can win. To miss them would be incredibly
disappointing for the team."