Despite being excluded from the 2007 Constructors World Championship, it seems McLaren are still pressing ahead with its appeal of the points deduction from the Hungarian Grand Prix. The appeal hearing into the Hungary incident was due to take place on the 19th September, six days after the hearing surrounding the events of the spy scandal. It was originally thought that since McLaren cannot win the title, they would drop the appeal. But as their punishment from round one in Paris is a little complex, it may help the team if they can succeed in getting the fifteen points from the Hungarian race reinstated.
The team were ineligible to earn constructors points after the Hungarian Grand Prix stewards decided that Fernando Alonso deliberately impeded another driver during the qualifying session of the event. The other driver happened to be team mate Lewis Hamilton, and it seems that Alonso held him up in the pitlane because of a previous incident where Hamilton failed to follow team policy.
The team went on to earn fifteen points from the race (Hamilton winning ahead of Alonso in fourth), a princely sum for a weekends work towards the championship, had they been allowed to keep them. But now the team won’t be able to win the title, does it make much of a difference?
Well yes, it actually does believe it or not! Part of McLaren’s punishment from the spying affair is a rather large $100m fine. But the FIA have stipulated that “the team will pay a fine equal to $100m, less the FOM income lost as a result of the points deduction.” This means that if McLaren’s points haul prior to the Belgian Grand Prix is higher that of Ferrari’s total at the very end of the season, the original fine of $100m would be substantially reduced. In fact, many authoritative websites believe it to be around two thirds less, leaving around $30m to pay. As it stands, the $100m will be reduced, but you can’t blame Ron Dennis for trying to minimise the damage as much as possible.
This is all due to the teams earning money from FOM depending on where they finish in constructors. It is based around how many points a team accrue, and also I believe, the difference between the next highest and next lowest scoring teams. Thus, McLaren would like to ensure that their total pre-Belgium score is as high as possible.
McLaren haven’t said much about the appeal, only that they were considering action. And as the FIA are apparently yet to hear from the team, they continue to believe the hearing will go ahead.
At the qualifying session of the 2007 Hungarian Grand Prix, the Panel of the Stewards of the meeting found that one of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes (“McLaren”) drivers had obstructed another in the pit lane.
A penalty was imposed preventing McLaren from scoring points in the Constructors’ Championship at that meeting. McLaren have lodged an appeal against the decision of the Stewards to the FIA International Court of Appeal.
This appeal will be heard on Wednesday 19 September 2007.
In the interests of transparency the hearing will be open to members of the press. FIA Press Statement.
At the Belgian Grand Prix, team principal Ron Dennis spoke briefly about the Hungary situation, saying that he is weighing up the options in order to best achieve closure on the matter.
I guess we will all know more either tomorrow or on Wednesday.