McLaren’s appeal verdict due on Friday

Nico Rosberg, Robert Kubica, Interlagos, 2007 | Andrew Ferraro / LAT PhotographicThe decision on McLaren’s appeal against the results of the 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix – that could hand the championship from Kimi Raikkonen to Lewis Hamilton – has been postponed until tomorrow.

Martin Whitmarsh said of the court hearings:

At today’s hearing all parties had the opportunity to present evidence and make arguments based on their respective perception of the facts. It now lies with the FIA International Court of Appeal to deliberate and issue a decision.

As I made clear prior to the appeal, the team was seeking to clarify the regulatory uncertainty that has arisen from a decision of the FIA Stewards at the 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix and not to win the Driver’s World Championship.

Our lawyer’s argument that an appropriate penalty would be a disqualification of the cars is based on the fact that this is ordinarily what has occurred during the last 20 years in Formula One when there was a breach of a technical regulation during a race.

Consequently whilst this was the only appropriate argument from a legal point of view, it’s not our ultimate goal in respect of today’s hearing.

McLaren’s lawyer Ian Mill began the hearing by arguing that Hamilton should be awarded the title:

We offer no special plea on behalf of the team, but I ask you to do what normally happens. It’s clear the infringement of this rule did have a performance-enhancing effect.

If you put in cool fuel it increases the horse power.

The principle is clear: if there was a performance enhancement, there was a breach and there has to be a disqualification. I ask you to address this as though it was any team at any stage of the season.

It cannot make a difference it was the last race of the season, and that it will decide the championship. Invariably, whenever there has been a disqualification, there has been a reclassification.

He added:

The driver may be entirely innocent… but he has the benefit of the infringing car. It must be right that if the team is disqualified, the driver loses the points as well. In the other case, the drivers were offered immunity if they assisted the FIA.

Ferrari’s lawyer Nigel Tozzi attacked McLaren’s appeal:

This is not the way a Formula One world championship should be won. Mr [Lewis] Hamilton himself, potentially the only beneficiary, has said very clearly he does not want to win the championship this way.

Mr Norbert Haug, head of Mercedes motorsport, has again gone on the record and said McLaren are not appealing in order to claim the championship. Mr Martin Whitmarsh in an interview yesterday said ‘finding a way to award the world drivers’ championship to Lewis retrospectively, is not at all what this is about’.

It could be said McLaren are shameless hypocrites devoid of any integrity, or maybe what their representatives have said should be taken at face value.

If what they want is clarity, then by all means let them have that, but do not allow them to have the world championship this way.

It would be a serious injustice to Mr Raikkonen should the world title be taken away from him, a fact recognised by Mr Hamilton and Mr [Fernando] Alonso. As McLaren are fond of saying: ‘The championship should be decided on the track and not in the courtroom’

BMW’s lawyer Ian Meakin described the appeal as “naked opportunism”.

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41 comments on McLaren’s appeal verdict due on Friday

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  1. I must admit that I thought McLaren’s viewpoint a tad hypocritical. I actually agree that the drivers should not be differentiated from the team and should be punished as well – but then I thought that about McLaren in the spying saga too.

    Based on the fact Hamilton and Alonso escaped punishment there then the same should apply here if there is to be any consistency.

    Not that that usually stops the FIA…

    I can’t believe they are making us wait until tomorrow for the verdict!

  2. MacademiaNut said on 15th November 2007, 16:49

    Why is Ferrari’s lawyer involved in this case, when it’s McLaren appealing against BMW?

  3. I would say the BMW lawyer got it spot on …

    If all that McLaren wanted was “was seeking to clarify the regulatory uncertainty” they could have used other channels … I do not deny them the right to appeal, but in that case they should not try to hide what they are really after … the driver’s title.

    After hearing what McLaren lawyer had to say, I am no longer convinced that Hamilton does not want to win the title in the court… There is as much true in that as in his earlier statements that taxes have nothing to do with his move to Switzerland …

  4. Quoting Mclaren lawyer…..
    “It must be right that if the team is disqualified, the driver loses the points as well.”

    Is it just me or does anyone else feel sick to the stomach with Mclaren.
    Had the FIA given the same punishment to their drivers as their cheating team they wouldnt have had the meeting today….are they from a completely different planet where there is no morals?
    They should be penalised for wasting time, and bringing the sport into direpute…..Bring on the Rally of Ireland thie weekend!

  5. bring on the Macau GP ! :-)

  6. oliver said on 15th November 2007, 17:32

    Unfortunately, this doesn’t seem to be the best time for this case, however its important, the FIA shows consistency on such matters, especially those where there are obvious performance gains from such infringements.

    Mclaren have to state their case, and hightlight the importance of such inconsistency, if they are proved to be correct, it is for them to now indicate they have no interest in either the disqualification of the cars or and the promotion of their car or driver.

  7. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th November 2007, 17:32

    I don’t think the comparisons with the ‘spygate’ affair hold. Remember that in the spygate hearing McLaren’s drivers were specifically given a promise of immunity by the FIA in exchange for their evidence.

    As McLaren’s lawyer has pointed out it is very common, in the cases of technical infringement that give a performance advantage, for the guilty parties to be removed from the results and the other drivers and teams promoted. There are dozens of examples – BAR at Imola in 2005 being one.

    Futhermore, it was never conclusively proven exactly what material performance advantage McLaren might have gained during the espionage affair. No even ever managed to find a part on the McLaren and say ‘that came from a Ferrari’ or even ‘that was inspired by a part on a Ferrari’.

    So I think McLaren’s line of argument holds but, as I say, there means of communicating it leaves something to be desired. The ‘we aren’t trying to get the championship overturned’ line is not credible.

    And I agree about the Macau GP only I don’t think it is being broadcast in the UK which is pathetic…

  8. Nikos Darzentas said on 15th November 2007, 17:36

    my fellow f1fanatic readers covered me with their comments… I’m still wondering though how much more damage are McLaren able to inflict to themselves this year!

  9. oliver said on 15th November 2007, 17:41

    Aha, you said it better than I tried to Keith.

    We the audience, must cease to do a “Lauda” and be quick to condemn. Lets await the outcome and not try to read court proceedings as statements of intent.

  10. carlos said on 15th November 2007, 18:41

    It is very convenient to Hamilton say he is not interested in the title, while he knows that his team is trying get it for him.

    What does pretend Mclaren? Are they testing the strenght of Fia, to get benefits “quid pro quo”?

    Well, oliver is right, the best is to await…but it is very sad to see a great team involved in such a dispute.

  11. MichaelK said on 15th November 2007, 18:53

    I’m sorry I don’t have much time right now, but the Pro-McLaren front on here is just ridiculously hypocritical, and that includes you Keith. Of course what is being said in a court proceeding is statement of intent!!! There are few places where the exact wording of what is being said are as important as in court. McLaren are acting exactly opposite on what Whitmarsh said. Let’s all not forget that this complaint is a farce in itself, beginning from where the reading of the fuel temps was taken, the different “official” ambient temps, etc…

  12. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 15th November 2007, 19:38

    As I said, Michael, I understand their line of argument but I think them presenting their case as being ‘not about taking the championship’ is not believable. It’s not necessary to take either McLaren or Ferrari’s sides, and I don’t.

    But I do think the argument concerns McLaren and BMW/Williams, not McLaren and Ferrari. I want to know what BMW and Williams’ counter-arguments are.

  13. Number 38 said on 15th November 2007, 22:59

    “McLaren’s lawyer Ian Mill began the hearing by arguing that……
    cool fuel increases the horse power.” Where did he get this drivil”? The cool fuel is almost
    instantly heated when blended in the tank with the remaining fuel, will be further heated with returning fuel from the injection rail
    and I can assure everyone the temperature is raised several hundred degrees just prior to ignition…….every engine using the same fuel will combust at the same temperature no matter who’s engine! The cool fuel business has only to do with the VOLUME at the time of re-fueling. This is not a PERFORMANCE enhancing proceedure. Fuel temperature
    may be a FIA regulation. BMW and Williams may be in violation of some FIA reg but for a lawyer to state cool fuel
    “increases horsepower” is just rubbish. I also find it odd that no one wants Hamilton to win the championship in the court room, no one but the LAWYER !!!!!!

  14. liono said on 16th November 2007, 0:02

    if mclaren succeed in appeal that will be double standard. no point to watched f1 anymore…….

  15. as I said somewhere above, if all that McLaren wanted was a clarification of the rules, they did not have to choose this route and drag the whole F1 into sort of apepal court that can influence the championship outcome. But no, they even said themselves that had no choice, they had to appeal … Everybody has choice …

    so whatever Whitmarsh and Hamilton said to the media has no credibility at all because the way they approached the appeal hearing is so obviously focused on claiming the title … or does anyone believe that their lawyer did not consult his speach with the McLaren’s top brass …

    If they want to win the title in the court why they just don’t say so ? why are they hiding behind the “clarification excuse”

    I had some sympathy with McLaren after their fine and exclusion, but now I have none at all, and not much respect left … Not because they appealed, they have full right to do that. But because of the games they are playing …

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