Was McLaren’s $100m fine illegal?

Lewis Hamilton, McLaren-Mercedes, Montreal, 2007, 470150

An article in today’s Independent on Sunday alleges the $100m fine given to McLaren by the FIA last year was illegal.

According to the story:

Not everyone who voted on the fine may have been authorised to do so. According to Article 14 of the FIA statutes, the WMSC “shall consist of … a total of 26 members who, with the exception of the president, must represent an ASN [national association] having at least one event entered on the international sporting calendar of the current year.” It doesn’t seem that this rule has been followed.

Although this argument seems sound, surely if there were any possible legal challenges to the verdict McLaren themselves would have identified and acted on them?

Nonetheless it’s worth considering the extraordinary implications were the decision reversed. Not only would McLaren get their money back but their constructors’ points could come too.

In which case they would probably regret dropping their appeal against the points they lost at last year’s Hungarian Grand Prix after Fernando Alonso blocked Lewis Hamilton in the pit lane. They dropped the appeal after their entire constructors’ points total was confiscated in the spy scandal verdict.

However if the spy scandal verdict were overturned, the decision that went against them at Hungary will have been what made the difference between Ferrari winning the constructors’ championship and McLaren not.

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27 comments on Was McLaren’s $100m fine illegal?

  1. D Winn said on 6th July 2008, 10:54

    No doubt the FIA will wriggle out of this, maybe by re-writing Article 14 and making it retrospective !
    Max seems to make the rules on the hoof, so what will he do this time ?

  2. Rohan said on 6th July 2008, 10:57

    It’s a complete non-story and, imo the authors are just trying to make trouble.

  3. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th July 2008, 11:01

    So does the ASN thing not matter?

  4. Sri said on 6th July 2008, 11:17

    “Although this argument seems sound, surely if there were any possible legal challenges to the verdict McLaren themselves would have identified and acted on them?”

    Guess you answered yourself mate on that one.

    Hungary was the race where McLaren used a new transmissions design without crash-testing as is mandated by FIA, so they would have lost it anyways. This was pointed out by Max in one of his statements.

  5. Rohan said on 6th July 2008, 11:21

    Keith, I don’t think it does – it’s just a small, insignificant detail that has been presented as though it will blow the FIA’s judgement out of the water.

  6. Sri said on 6th July 2008, 11:24

    What was curiouser was the fact that they did not threw out the Macca, DQ’s driver results from that race, as they would have done in case of any other team. Hence i rest my case that last year someone was pushing the agenda of a British Rookie Champion.

    Some links for the benefit of other readers on the same…



  7. spectre said on 6th July 2008, 11:25

    I was just watching the Porsche Supercup race at Silverstone. Rain and a very wet track there at the moment, with 90 minutes to go until the F1 race.

  8. Internet said on 6th July 2008, 11:50

    Is it me or does every time McLaren are looking better than Ferrari, FIA does something to distract McLaren? The timing of this can’t be coincidental.

  9. mail123456 said on 6th July 2008, 11:56

    @Internet – I agree :)
    last year I said exactly the same

  10. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 6th July 2008, 11:57

    Sri – Please let’s not go down this ridiculous line of argument. The last time you and Steven Roy had that argument about pro-Hamilton bias I found his arguments utterly convincing.

    Internet – The FIA has not announced this, it was published by a newspaper.

  11. Robert McKay said on 6th July 2008, 12:01

    “it’s just a small, insignificant detail”

    Rules are rules. If the FIA take them time to write a very specifically worded rule they should be challenged if they don’t follow it. Where would it stop? What other rules do the FIA choose to ignore? I think it’s important. It shows how little that Max and the FIA care for the process, as long as they get the result required.

    As Pitpass said on their take on the story, Mclaren were probably rightly more concerned on their own defence than going through the rules on the jury constituents with a fine toothcomb.

  12. Going by McLaren’s inability to deal with the “cool fuel” thing properly it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if they overlooked it.
    This is a big deal – it’s further proof that the organisation of the FIA needs a serious overhaul, and a complete clean-out at the top. But I’m sure Mosley and his cronies will ignore it, and they’ll get away with it again.

  13. Sri said on 6th July 2008, 13:53

    Keith, McLaren cars were running equipment not crash tested, which clearly marks them out to be not legal. Even though parts may meet specifications however, they must got through crash testing before being used in a race. The cars and drivers alike would have been stripped off of their points and finishing positions, which would have been as per law. McLaren got their points stripped for more than one reasons. We all know about Bernie’s love for what i mentioned earlier. We all know FIA to crumble to his demands from time to time. It may irk you, but there’s no denying that. Mosley did speak in public, about him not getting his way. Why would you think he’d say that? Bernie wanted a show, he got FIA to give you one. I somehow think WWE matches are entertaining, but i also know they are fixed. What we had last year, with Macca drivers getting off lightly, was somewhat akin to that.

    Also, am not asking you to like it. It is my opinion, based on facts, statements made by Max Mosley, who i’d say is/are damn sight more credible a source.

    The trouble last time was he and it seems you as well perceived that i meant FIA was biased towards Macca. I did not. I only was trying to say they were being wrestled by Bernie to get his way.

  14. Mosley is not a credible source. He’s a fundamentally dishonest person who’ll say whatever he feels like to support his position. If it’s true it’s purely incidental.

  15. Number 38 said on 6th July 2008, 17:42

    Well, a fisty tread going here. But let’s carry the foolishness to the next level. Suppose Mclaren or surigates working for them could get the $100M fine reversed, how do you get the money back from MadMax?
    And shouldn’t it come back “with interest” ? Ha Ha Ha

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