The factory SEAT World Touring Car team has criticized the championship's governing body, the FIA, after today's qualifying session at Pau in which the highest-placed of its turbo diesel Leons was 15th.
The Spanish manufacturer's drivers currently fill the first four places in the drivers' championship with four victories from eight races between them, but SEAT claims a change to the regulations for this weekend's races on the French street circuit has left them unable to compete at the front.
A statement from SEAT said: "Before the first race [of the season] the FIA changed the technical regulations, applying a restriction that limited the maximum turbo pressure to 2.5 bar, plus a variable tolerance depending on the atmospheric pressure and the temperature, that would be established and applied race by race. This tolerance was removed after the race in Marrakech without any explanation.
"Tomorrow, the cars of the Spanish make will take the start from the last rows of the grid as a result of the lack of clarity in the technical regulations and the constant rule changes introduced by the FIA in this championship, hindering participants from fighting at the top level on an equal basis."
SEAT claims to have been "faced with silence from the FIA, and an absence of any explanation after the exclusion of Tiago Monteiro's car in Marrakech", and team manager Antonio Rodriguez added: "It is impossible to race like this."
The team confirmed that it will contest Sunday's races but warned that it plans to consider its future in the championship.The statement continued: "Despite the bad results achieved today, SEAT will be taking part in tomorrow's race to show their commitment with the World Touring Car Championship, but it is also the start of a period of reflection as regards the future."
SEAT Sport also questioned the legality of the petrol cars in the championship, which it claims illegally exceeded the rev limit on down-shifts during today's qualifying session, although no official protest has been made to the race stewards.
The FIA declined to comment on SEAT's reaction until its investigation into the situation has been concluded.