On the day before the FIA Court of Appeal meets in London to hear McLaren’s protest against the result of the Brazilian Grand Prix, Bernie Ecclestone has threatened to quit if Lewis Hamilton is handed the title:
I don’t think that the Formula One fans would like a championship to be won because the temperature of the fuel, which can’t be measured anyway, is possibly 5C out. If anybody thinks that’s the best thing for Formula 1, then I’d have a very serious thought about me retiring.
This lends weight to the suspicion that the outcome of the hearing is a foregone conclusion, and that McLaren has no chance of succeeding.
Although Ecclestone, as the head of Formula One Management, is not responsible for making the decision, his opinion will be considered highly influential. When the FIA found McLaren guilty of using Ferrari’s intellectual property it was the intervention of Ecclestone and other parties that ensured Hamilton and Fernando Alonso remained in the drivers’ championship.
Nonetheless, the fact that Ecclestone has chosen to voice the threat might suggest he is genuinely concerned the FIA might disqualify the BMWs and Williams cars from the Brazilian Grand Prix, elevating Hamilton to fifth place or higher, and giving him the points he needs to become champion.
Speaking to The Times, the newspaper he usually chooses to voice his opinions, Ecclestone said:
I don’t think anything’s going to happen if it goes through. In my opinion, they don’t have to change the results of the race – it’s an infringement of the regulations. On the same weekend, McLaren used an extra set of tyres, which they shouldn’t have used – that was an infringement – so maybe if anything does happen at this Court of Appeal, maybe they’ll treat it exactly the same as the tyres.
The venue of the hearing was switched to London instead of Paris due to an ongoing traffic strike in the French capital.
Read more about the Brazilian Grand Prix fuel controversy
- 20 day wait for Raikkonen’s title confirmation
- Doubt remains over Raikkonen’s title as McLaren appeal
- Raikkonen keeps title as BMW & Williams cleared
- Investigation could jeopardise Raikkonen’s title
- Kimi Raikkonen finally wins the F1 title
- Brazilian GP 2007 review: Raikkonen champion by a point
- The Times – Bernie Ecclestone warns FIA over title reversal (external)