September 13, 2007
The FIA, following today's WMSC hearing, dropped a very large nuke on Team McLaren, stripping the team's Constructor's Championship points and fining them $100 million (which is to be reduced by all prize monies won this year).
Signifigantly, McLaren was NOT excluded from the 2007 Constructor's Championship, they just had their points zeroed and they will not be allowed to score any in the next four races. This is a subtle point, but it prevents the team from automatically losing their sponsorship contracts. Can't imagine that companies like Vodafone will be pleased, though.
The drivers were NOT stripped of their points, and will be allowed to earn Driver's Championship points in the last four races.
Ferrari has stated that they are "that the truth has now emerged." Mercedes, McLaren's partner, has expressed dismay at the penalty. BMW has said that they don't want 2nd place this way. McLaren's press release was defiant:
The most important thing is that we will be going motor racing this weekend, the rest of the season and every season. This means that our drivers can continue to compete for the World Championship. However having been at the hearing today (we) do not accept that we deserved to be penalised in this way.
In 2006, Business F1 magazine said that McLaren had the largest budget in the sport, spending at least $400 million. Their fine of $100m is larger than the 2006 budgets of SuperAguri (est. $95m), Midland (now Spyker, $76m), or Toro Rosso ($66m).
All reports suggest that the FIA did NOT prove that McLaren used the information in the Stepneygate documents. Planet-F1 points out a huge discrepancy:
"For the drivers we have made an exception because they have supplied evidence" - 'The Emperor' Max Mosley.
"The WMSC received statements from Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Pedro de la Rosa stating categorically that no Ferrari information had been used by McLaren, and that they have not passed any confidential data to the team" - Ron Dennis, McLaren Team Principal
The team is penalized, the drivers are not. But isn't driving a stake through the team penalizing the drivers as well?
The FIA has, to be blunt, peed this one down their leg. IF they feel that the team has cheated and needed to be penalized, then why DIDN'T they exclude McLaren? Instead, they danced around and just stripped them of their points and hit them with a ridiculous fine (that will be immediately reduced upon appeal, either to the WMSC or to a court of law). No, this is the FIA's way of saying "we're not secure in what we're doing."
The FIA will release a statement on Friday detailing exactly why they've done what they did today. I can't WAIT to read that... and a transcript.
Fernando Alonso was not at the meeting of the WMSC today. The other two McLaren drivers, Lewis Hamilton and test driver Pedro de la Rosa ("Pete Rose") were, defending their team. I wonder why Alonso was at Spa-Francopants, and he would only say "no comment" when asked about his involvement in the ruling.
Well, Ferrari, you happy now? You got your Constructor's Championship, but at the cost of the integrity of the sport. Just shows that "FIA" really does mean "Ferrari Is All".
At least the drivers will still be able to compete. I'll admit that I'm surprised that the FIA would cherrypick like that. I suppose I'm pleased, but I've a hollow feeling in the pit of my stomach because of this.
DAMMIT. An entire season just got flushed on what appears to be nothing but innuendo and suspicions. DIAF, Mosley. DIAF, Ferrari.
Sorry. We here at F1 UPDATE! are on the verge of rage right now; we're not as coherent as we maybe should be. The sport we love has just taken a huge blow, despite anything the FIA would say, like "we're policing our sport." To which we say, "Goosesh*t, Max."
I want to see if any of the three Ferrari bigwigs on the WMSC recused themselves today.
We'll have more tomorrow.
It ought to be an interesting weekend at the races.
Posted by: Mallory at September 14, 2007 01:11 AM (3sife)
Posted by: madmike at September 14, 2007 05:09 AM (o+iiH)
"But, as you can see if you read our accounts, we turn over roughly US$450-500m a year, and we are debt-free, so obviously we are a very strong company with phenomenal growth." -Ron Dennis
The BBC article I read makes it seem like McLaren might be a little more guilty than we would all like, but they certainly weren't using an Ferrari tech on any of their cars. Or at least not that has been proven.
Anyway, on to SPA!
Posted by: Buttons at September 14, 2007 07:57 AM (XAGhq)
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