Record fine for McLaren

Constructors' championship leaders thrown out of 2007 title race

By Michael Wise   Last updated: 14th September 2007   Subscribe to RSS Feed

Record fine for McLaren

Hamilton: still in contention

Having been at the hearing I do not accept that we deserve to be penalised or our reputation damaged in this way

McLaren's Ron Dennis
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The FIA has hit McLaren-Mercedes with an unprecedented $100 million fine and docked the team its constructors' championship points for the current season after finding them guilty of spying on rivals Ferrari.

However, after both the team's drivers gave evidence in the case, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso have escaped sanction - meaning they are free to chase this year's world drivers' title.

"The WMSC (World Motor Sports Council) has stripped Vodafone McLaren Mercedes of all constructors points in the 2007 FIA Formula One world championship and the team can score no points for the remainder of the season," the FIA said.

"Furthermore the team will pay a fine equal to $100 million (£49.2 million), less the FOM income lost as a result of the points deduction."

The WMSC has also withheld a decision regarding next year's constructors' championship until the team's 2008 car can be scrutinised to see whether it uses Ferrari intellectual property.

"The WMSC will receive a full technical report on the 2008 McLaren car and will take a decision at the December 2007 meeting after what sanction, if any, will be imposed on the team for the 2008 season," the statement added.

Hamilton leads Alonso by three points in the drivers' standings with just four races - including Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix - remaining.

But the verdict means that McLaren's 23-point constructors' championship lead over Ferrari has been wiped, leaving the latter a full 57 points ahead of BMW Sauber.

Dossier

The team had originally been found guilty of the 'fraudulent conduct' charge in July, after McLaren designer Mike Coughlan was found in possession of a 780-page dossier - given to him by Ferrari's former head of performance development, Nigel Stepney.

However, on that occasion, the FIA decided there was insufficient evidence that McLaren had actually used the information to its advantage.

FIA president Max Mosley then referred the case to a Court of Appeal, but after fresh evidence surfaced - purported to be an email exhange between Alonso and McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa - a second WMSC hearing was instigated.

A detailed breakdown of the FIA's new findings will be released by the governing body on Friday.

McLaren have yet to announce whether they will appeal against the verdict.

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Comments (10)

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Andrew Gregg says...

Ferrari are sore losers and cant take that they are not the best team anymore and not going to win the championship again so have to go out and try to destroy mclarens reputations. Mclaren are the innocent party here and Ferrari are guilty, just shows the F1 world what extreme lengths Ferrari will go to to be number 1 how low can a team go. COME ON MCLAREN THE BEST TEAM IN F1 RACING AND WE KNOW YOU ARE INNOCENT

Posted 09:00 14th September 2007

Tracy Heywood says...

What a ridiculous decision at least Lewis and Fernando keep their points. As for someone's comment about Ferrari dominating F1. Correct me if i'm wrong but didn't Renault win the championship double the last 2 years.This surely has to be because of the excellent driving of Alonso who along with Hamilton had put McLaren at the top. I wonder whether Ferrari's celebrations will be somewhat subdued at the end of the season knowing that they won by default!!!!

Posted 08:59 14th September 2007

Sean Evans says...

I have been a Ferrari fan for the last 20 odd years and yes although they were my team I watched F1 for the sport. So they have got the constructors championship unfairly and probably next year's, so what's the point in turning the TV on, it will be the same as watching wrestling, you know who's going to win, its all a show, so why bother. A1 GP for me I feel. Lets some now hope McLaren and Hamilton some how find a way in to A1GP!!!

Posted 08:50 14th September 2007

John Smyth says...

Yes yes big fine and so on... but i think everyone is missing the best thing thats going to come out of this. If Mclaren can't score any team points for the rest of the season then surely that means no team orders for Alonso and the boy wonder which could make for some fantastic battles to decide the drivers title!

Posted 08:31 14th September 2007

Ian Ruggier says...

Shambolic verdict, Ferrari seem to work in mysterious ways!

Posted 07:30 14th September 2007

Peter Witney says...

Oh thank you FIA for so harshly punishing McLaren. So now Ferrari are given the 2007 title, and probably the 2008 one too. I was enjoying this season with 4 drivers competing - it was F1 back to its best. And now that has gone, and me with it. I for one will not be watching the rest of the 2007 season, and if McLaren are excluded from the 2008 one I will miss that one too. Roll on A1GP - a REAL sport where internal bickering and politics where the so-called legal system supports one team doesn't exist. So if the FIA want to help Ferrari, they have done so and well done to them. But it has destroyed the sport, it's respect, it's integrity and many fans too. All hail Ferrari and the FIA! Well done! A1GP here we come.

Posted 23:05 13th September 2007

John Smith says...

what a joke? how are we supposed to understand this verdict without any proof. what was in the e-mail and what was in the document? as such all my faith in the WMSC and the FIA, including Max Mosley will be lost without it!

Posted 22:55 13th September 2007

James Godbehere says...

This is an unbelievable punishment considering how Ferrari have acted over the years in using illegal cars etc. This really does highlight how the politics of the sport get in the way of what is truly important - the racing. Fernando Alonso said it himself a year ago 'F1 is not a sport anymore'.

Posted 22:53 13th September 2007

Michael Hilton says...

Welcome to F1 Lewis!! where politics rule the racing, Lets forget this now and enjoy a great track which is spa, the race should be a good one, the way it should be. Lets go racing now!!

Posted 20:44 13th September 2007

Simon Caulfield says...

where does this fine go to? this sport is already saturated in money to an obscene extent! so where is this equally obscene amount of money going? charity hopefully!

Posted 20:37 13th September 2007

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