Boss defends Force India after number breach

May 17 (GMM) Sporting boss Otmar Szafnauer has defended Force India, after the team was pulled up for not complying with new rules in Barcelona.

To help the fans in the grandstands and the TV audience, F1 told teams they must fit bigger numbers and the drivers’ abbreviated names on their cars from Spain.

But Force India argued that because of their sponsor deals with BWT and NEC, adding ‘OCO’ and ‘PER’ to their cars would be confusing.

However, it was the location of the bigger race numbers on the pink cars that actually broke the rules last weekend.

Team manager Andy Stevenson told Auto Motor und Sport: “When I stand in front of the car, I can read the number perfectly. From the grandstand too.

“From lower down it is not visible but there is nothing in the rules about that. There are perspectives with every car on which the number is not visible,” he said.

Sporting boss Szafnauer said the entire issue is triggered by commercial considerations for the small, overachieving Silverstone based team.

“As you know, Force India does well on the track but is not as strong in the commercial area, which is related to the way revenues are distributed in formula one,” he said.

“But the approach of the commercial rights holders is what it is, so we have to maximise the way we work with sponsors. To do this, we need to make optimal use of the space on the car.

“Personally, I think we could come up with a better way to distinguish the cars on the track,” Szafnauer added.

Force India’s EUR 25,000 fine was suspended.

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