Doubt remains over Raikkonen’s title as McLaren appeal

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Kimi Raikkonen, Ferrari, Interlagos, 2007 | Ferrari mediaKimi Raikkonen is champion for now but the F1 world is waiting to hear the outcome of an appeal by the McLaren-Mercedes team.

McLaren have appealed against the stewards’ decision not to exclude the BMW and Williams drivers from yesterday’s Brazilian Grand Prix.

The stewards found that there was not enough evidence to prove that the cars in question used fuel that was cooler than the regulations allow, despite it being recorded on several occasions that the minimum limit was exceeded during pit stops.

The odds are stacked against McLaren however.

The International Court of Appeal may choose to reject their submission. Even if it goes to the appeal court, choosing to change the order of the race and by doing so change the identity of the world champion would be an extraordinarily controversial decision.

Photo: Ferrari media

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87 comments on “Doubt remains over Raikkonen’s title as McLaren appeal”

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  1. I don’t see how using two sets of wet tires on Friday can deserve the same punishment as say blocking someone during qualifying or purposely crashing into someone during a race. Let the punishment fit the crime. Disqualifying someone for breaking any rule during a race weekend is almost as absurd as the three strikes law.

  2. quick followup from comment 44 – hamilton admits he did mistakenly ruin his own race on sunday:

    “My finger slipped on the steering wheel and I accidentally pressed the button used for the starting sequence.”


  3. Ooops indeed. But kudos to him for being man enough to admit it. ;)

  4. To Oliver!

    You seem to be a fairly knowledgeable chap. Glad that you read my write up. Yes, i’d agree that you were right, when you say that i “oversimplified” Bar’s DQ. Thing is, most people really have no clue what they are talking about, so i thought let’s keep it simple. Still, it does make the point that BAR’s DQ was on different grounds & not the same as BMW & Williams in this season or that. Hence, McLaren may not find any favorable conclusion to their end. Also, stewards also cited difficulty in proving that they did cheat with the fuel temperatures. So i guess, it’d be a dead end that McLaren are looking at.

    However, you may find that FIA did cite Williams-BMW’s(Montreal) DQ on the basis of brake ducts(Source: Ralf Schumacher in F1Racing mag interview in the following month’s issue), not the fuel tank/fuel being used as ballast. As far as Toyota, i did not read much about it(could not find anything on it mate, post some links if you know of any), so would not comment, as i said earlier.

    I know how the penalty handed over to McLaren works mate. In-fact, you could find pdf’s of FMSC indicting McLaren on the net. Just google it. I got them, read them( would mail, if you want, leave me an email address). As per my understanding, in the recent interview to, Mosley clearly indicates that he was lurking in wait for McLaren to petition after hungary cos Ron lied through his teeth to him about not all employees knowing about the Ferrari docs. Everyone in the team, in-fact did!. As per Coughlan’s testimony, Neil Oatley, Martin Whitmarsh and a couple of significant others had known about the information. In-fact, they went ahead(as per Coughlan) and installed a firewall on McLaren’s mailing system to prevent mails from Stepney, at one point. My only question is, if they are so upright, honest and sporting as Ron Dennis claims, why did they not notify FIA or/& Ferrari? Why keep the information(tech document of 780 odd pages), if you did not intend to use it? Something smells foul, don’t it? Also, do not doubt for a second that, Ron’s sharp mind would not have warned him about Mosley waiting to trouble him. Which is why, i suspect, the absence of a petition from McLaren.

    I’ll go ahead and say that I’am a Ferrari fan. However, even if it as Ferrari, who did it. I’d support motion for them to be thrown out of the championship. Well, they did not. McLaren did. They sat on the Ferrari information for about a good 8 odd months. Do you think it’s fair? Let me rephrase, would you be okay, if your competitor business were to be handed over your secret recipe, your corporate clientèle list, etc.? I hope you get the picture. Ferrari complained. McLaren lied. Consequences for McLaren could have been severe. It is the rabid British press, my friend, which saved Ron’s & McLaren’s hind & skin.

    Well, if you ask, personally speaking, i never was a McLaren fan. However, respect for Ron & his professionalism was immense. He was someone, who you would want to look up-to. Kept the name of McLaren alive and kicking and made them very very successful. For that i really respect him. However, with this, i must say, that, Ron & McLaren have lost some credibility & face. To be fair, for this offense of lying, FIA/FMSC, could have easily hurled them out the F1 door(they have provisions and all the world and donkey would have asked for it if it were Ferrari but they(council) did not. So, i say they got away easy.

    As they were still allowed to retain the prize money won, which would be offset from their penalty. Mosley had 2 years exclusion in mind(minimum). Think of the financial loss then. Sponsors walking out, perhaps and whatever else. Just answer this, would you be okay, if Ferrari were dealt in the same manner, If it were them in place of McLaren. I bet most of the press would be baying for Ferrari’s blood. I’d win that bet easy, don’t you think?

    I know there was Stepney involved, but, i doubt that Ferrari would do something as stupid as that, as they would know the consequences of that. Mosley clearly stated though special, but are not above the regulations and just another team when they infringe. Ron knows, Todt’s knows, Mosley is someone, who they dare not push around too much.

    Anyways, if you think that FIA still favours a team excessively(i meant Ferrari), please read all the press, when rules for season 2005 came into existence. They were to stop Ferrari from winning, which they did. Don’t trust me, read F1Racing mag for yourself and whatever else publications you read. Now is that fair? How can you penalize a team for being successful? Well, all others(teams) did and got away with murder( a poor job at being competition, that is). People said, “F1 is getting boring because of Ferrari”. Well, they must consider this. How can one team which does its homework proper, be wrong? What about other 10-11 teams(depending on what season we talk about)? Can they be allowed to get away with a shoddy job which they did? Think of McLaren’s lunching on it’s own engines/gearboxes and a host of other parts. Let me ask, how would you feel, if you were asked to part with your hard earned success(fame/money)?

    Well, it’s part sport & part business my friend. We wish it was only sport, but, it is merely wishful thinking my friend. If only wishes were horses… Personally speaking, i’d rather have the sport nothing to do with Bernie. I know he has done a lot for the sport & still does. Most of it, you must agree, i’d believe is to fill his coffers. Nothing to make it exciting for you and me. At the end of the day, it is Bernie’s business, please do not be mistaken. Also, why ever do you think other driver’s were spared from Brazil’s Quali? Well, he would have to turn the screws on Hamilton just as well, if he did on the others. It would be bad business wouldn’t it? All the world’s press(read as: chiefly British) would indict him to be a rogue/villain and would quote a Ferrari conspiracy. Just to prove my point, damn i could not find that link, but planet-f1 had a link yesterday where they spoke about that they really did not pay much attention to the fact that we have a new champion. Which is why, i was glad that Kimi won it on track. Not that am saying everyone is an airhead, but some of them clearly act like one. Would you not agree?

    p.s: Hey… it’s nothing personal, it’s just an opinion, just like yours. I guess it’s a sport that i love, i want to understand intricacies of the same, which is why i read a lot about the sport when i can. Trust me, where i live(India) its hard to find any material on it, except on the net. Damn i have to go about a dozen odd kilometers to buy a copy of F1Racing every month. Good to hear from you.

  5. Apology… error is regretted… please read WMSC instead of FMSC which is just a spelling mistake.

  6. Sri, thanks for making the effort of writing this all up, what you say is completely true. I have only skimmed through the docs of the WMSC, but enough to know that anyone defending McLaren in the Spygate has either not read information that is freely available or is just an ignorant fool. What McLaren has been doing all season and is continuing to do right into the off-season is to shoot themselves in the foot at almost every opportunity, I wonder how long this behaviour can be sustained until the sponsors really start to rebel. If I was any of the main sponsors I would be on the phone screaming at them to stop this farce as it definitely is hurting everyone who has associated their name with McLaren…
    Now Mercedes have already shown that they really don’t care about bad press through their despicable behaviour in the DTM, but surely someone like Vodafone must think that enough really is enough. It’s not like they are paying peanuts for this. I think they might be thinking that leaving Ferrari was a mistake for more reasons than the obvious one…

  7. TO,
    Michael K!

    Thanks for replying mate. It’s good to know that you read through pretty much a page full of stuff.

    However what you say is right. How long before sponsors start worrying about their image being projected by this Formula Scum? It is a serious loss of face over this past racing season for F1 as a sport. It’s not long that other markets also give up on F1, just like the US did(well i guess they have other distractions). This really can’t be sitting well with new fans(youngsters, or people from new markets), can it? Bernie has to rethink. Period!

    All i can say is, not one party has behaved responsibly in all of this. Not Media(obviously biased in favour of McLaren & Hamilton), neither the teams(McLaren, when you think about this year), nor FIA(letting off McLaren scot free to start with and then reverting on their original decision).

    This is all very hilarious, cos where i come from, not many understand the sport. Trust me when i say this, you need them(fans), more than they need you(hoped US would have taught you that Bernie!). All this only makes them wonder whether you are worth the time and effort. Me, am just another fan who has been following the sport for more than a decade, as we speak. Well Bernie, you are damned close to lose me as a fan just as well! Also there would be a million others like me, equally disillusioned!

  8. Honestly, if the fuel temp really improve the timing so much that would allows BMW to overtook both McLaren, it just proved that McLaren are idiots for spending millions in the wind tunnel looking for something they cant find which BMW found by lowering their fuel by 2c.

    There are times when Ferrari were beaten by BMW too this season. So why McLaren cant take the defeat as it was.

    If rules are rules then we should have stricter punishment this season such as McLaren banning for 2 years… Go figure Ron

  9. But that’s the point surely – teams aren’t allowed to gain an advantage by lowering their fuel temperature beyond a certain level, that’s why there’s a rule against it.

    Besides which it’s entirely likely that, as two teams broke the same rule, this was just an oversight by the their employees. It was much hotter than expected at Interlagos and they probably neglected to ensure they took that into account when preparing their fuel. But that doesn’t mean they didn’t gain an advantage.

    Having said that I don’t expect to see Hamilton promoted in their place. I can’t imagine for one second that the governing body would want to change the winner of the championship after the final race unless they absolutely had to.

  10. Hamilton has said that he doesn’t want to win the title in the courtroom, so I will be surprised if McLaren go ahead with their appeal.

    I do think it would be interesting to find if there is sufficient evidence to back their case. If it worked out that Hamilton should have won the Championship however, – even if he is not made the official champion – it still takes away Kimi’s glory. Hamilton even said that he is the ‘rightful champion’.

  11. Question is really how much more fuel did go in the tank due to the lower temperature? In the sum of the whole equation it should not make a big difference! More fuel means they go slower and in return maybe can stay out one more lap. Just as a guess if they get 1-2 liters more fuel in the tank I can not see the advantage since it is not enough for 1 lap. I think it is a pointless appeal from a common sense view.

  12. In all fairness Ferrari should get a credit of points for the race in Japan when the message about full rain tires screwed Kimi’s race….

  13. Stefan, its not just more fuel going in. Its also better performance. Combustion is not just about burning fuel, its also the rate of change of temperature. Granted, the performance would not have lasted indefinitely, but it may have been sufficient for a car to stay ahead of another car, despite pitting earlier and carrying a heavier fuel load.

    However, Mclaren’s appeal is about the FIA’s interpretation, and not about the championship, so please understand that. Because if they don’t get clarity from the FIA it may come to hunt them or another team in the future.

    If a team has been disqualified over 1 or 2 millimeters in the past, and during racing conditions, then how much so when there is a difference of over 13 degrees centigrade in fuel temperature from ambient temperature, dont dont forget, that differnce may be anything from 15-25% depending on ambient temperature. And specifically 20 -40% above even the allowable margin.

  14. Ok, let’s not start spreading unfounded “facts” here. The FIA rule of the maximum of 10 degrees cooler than ambient temperature fuel says that it can’t be that cool anywhere IN the car. This rule was made against certain teams that were using fuel coolers in the car to gain advantage (think it was Toyota).
    Now the reading that everyone is discussing was taken at the bottom of the fuel tank in the pits. So in order for there to have been an infrigement it would mean that it would have to be proven that the fuel was breaching those limits IN the car. Let’s start with the fact that if you measure the temperature in any fluid it will be cooler at the bottom than at the top, but let’s say the fuel left the pit tank with that temp as I guess the pump will be at the bottom.
    Then it enters the fuelhose which some people say had at least 40 degrees in the sunshine, this will already heat the fuel up. But now comes the real point, the cars fuel tanks reach up to 60 degrees during a race, and they most certainly will have reached that temp in Interlagos, if not more. It’s not only the fuel that is still in the tank that is hot, it’s the whole car!! This means that even if it would’ve entered the car cooler it would heat up significantly when it enters the car. This just to point out before all the other facts, like that the teams got a different temp which makes the difference legal, that there are no sensors in the car that could prove this without doubt etc..
    That McLaren say they are doing this for the good of the sport it just bollocks, of course they know they don’t have a hope in hell to win this, but this takes away from the spotlight that Ferrari would otherwise get. All it is, is tactical sour grapes of the lowest kind. McLaren don’t give a damn about Hamilton saying he thinks it’s not fair, he could stand on his head screaming they should stop, the way McLaren operates will make them go through with this. I think McLaren has become a team completely bereft of morals it’s unbelievable, of course they have been formed into this by the pressure etc., but still it is quite a state to reach.

  15. If the car that had been found with suspect fuel temperatures was Raikkonen’s Ferrari, would anyone be saying McLaren shouldn’t appeal?

  16. Good question keith.

  17. If it was Ferrari I would be flipping out. Look Kimi won THE END but someone was obviously cheating. If the fuel temp makes no diffenence according to Micheal K then why is it addressed in the rule book. Micheal K you start by giving us details about how the rule applies to the whole car, but you end it by saying that the spirit of the rule was about “fuel coolers”. So it is evident that this rule is about fuel temps. Then the comment is that the fuel heats up anyway because of the heat of the car itself. So WHY would they need a rule. Come on, they need a rule because it is an advantage that the other cars don’t have. It adds about 10 horses to the engine. OK lets just all stop–KIMI IS THE 2007 FORMULA 1 CHAMPION. Lets just get on with 2008. I have been reading blogs all over the internet. The concensus is that Kimi stays Champion regardless. This is from bloggers I know are McLaren fans and from Ferrari haters as well.

  18. OK Keith they should appeal, but no one should take the championship from Kimi!!!! The decesion of penalty should be constructor points and/or a fine.

  19. (71)
    That is sophism.
    In the hypothetic case McLaren should appeal, cause the winner would not be worthy, but in the real case, I do think not, Hamilton says not, and the most of the people think the same.

  20. Clearly it isn’t – Raikkonen finished ahead of Hamilton just as Rosberg, Kubica and Heidfeld did. McLaren are just as entitled to protest three cars that finished in front of Hamilton as one car that finished in front of Hamilton, regardless of the championship situation.

    (Although of course in my example if Raikkonen were disqualified then Alonso would be champion).

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