Was McLaren’s $100m fine illegal?

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

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.