D-Day for McLaren – FIA Judgement on spygate

It took 9 hours of deliberation for the FIA World Motor Sport Council to decide McLaren’s fate at last, in light of ‘new evidence’ that had come to light. One surprise was that Ross Brawn came out of hiding from his sabbatical to attend as part of the Ferrari delegation.

Well, McLaren have now lost all points from the 2007 championship, and are no longer eligible to score any more for the remainder of the season. They have also received a $100million fine (£49.2 million), and have to submit their 2008 car with all technical data for a thorough examination prior to the 2008 season, the FIA will decide in their December 2007 meeting what sanctions, if any, will be imposed for 2008. However, both drivers will not be penalised, and retain all points.

Having not heard exactly what conclusions were drawn, other than McLaren being in possession of the Ferrari document, then at present the penalty dolled out is reasonable. The $100million fine is offset against the television income the team would of earned had it been eligible for points, so whilst the biggest penalty in the sport’s history it is somewhat diminished. The loss of constructor’s points serves as the biggest slap on the wrists and sends out a very clear message to all teams about the cost of breaking the sporting regulations.

I still can’t help but feel that there is a Ferrari bias frequently in the decisions made, and this whole spying incident has left me with a foul taste in my mouth about a sport that I love and am passionate about. But the FIA have at least had a moment of blinding clarity and common sense in not penalising the drivers. At this point, as far as we are aware the drivers are not involved and it leaves the driver’s championship intact to be fought fairly on the race track. With it already shaping up to be one of the best championships for many years, the damage caused had Hamilton and Alonso lost their points would of been devastating.

I really hope that this is an end to it now, and that no sanctions are taken against the team for 2008, there is nothing worse than thinking everything is over, only to have everything change again. I hope that McLaren go out and stuff Ferrari at all of the remaining races, obviously kicking their asses at the Italian GP was a good start.

One question remains for me, was it ominous that Alonso did not attend the hearing? He has recently stated that he is only concerned with the Driver’s championship, the Constructors title doesn’t mean anything to him, whilst Hamilton has come out saying both titles are important to him. I’m sure Ron Dennis was particularly pleased with Alonso’s statement. Could he be gearing up to depart early?

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