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Brawn embroiled in “Briefcase-gate” controversy

Paris, Wednesday: Nigel Tozzi, the legal representative of the Ferrari Formula One team, has submitted a complaint to the FIA today over Brawn GP team principal Ross Brawn’s use of a briefcase while on his way to the FIA Court of Appeal this week.

Tozzi has claimed that Brawn’s use of a wheeled suitcase as he approached the FIA headquarters in Paris yesterday “contravened both the letter and spirit of the regulations,” and allowed Brawn a clear and unfair advantage in getting to the courtroom faster than Tozzi. “He then used that extra time in the court to sway the judges in his favour,” Tozzi said.

Controversial: Ross Brawn and briefcase

Controversial: Ross Brawn and briefcase

Brawn, however, has claimed that nowhere in the FIA regulations does it state that a wheeled briefcase is not permitted in official FIA hearings, and suggests that Tozzi is simply jealous because he did not think of the idea first.

“Frankly, these non-wheeled versions are a bit old hat, aren’t they?” the team principal told journalists. “Wheels are the future. If Ferrari had wanted to make them illegal when we were discussing the rules, they could have, but they didn’t take that opportunity. So now we’re enjoying an advantage and they have only themselves to blame.”

Further depth has been added to the case with the revelation that Renault’s Andrew Ford was advised not to use a similar briefcase when he consulted the FIA on its legality earlier in the season.

“One rule for us, another rule for them,” an exasperated Ford said outside the FIA headquarters today.

If the FIA rules in favour of Tozzi, Brawn could lose his victory in the “diffuser-gate” court case which ruled his team’s rear diffusers legal. On the other hand, Brawn could be allowed to keep his victory but the controversial briefcase designs banned from the next court hearing onwards.

One additional question was raised by an anonymous fashion journalist: “What’s Brawn doing dragging his briefcase behind him like some American tourist? Everyone knows that real men carry their luggage.”

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