The Stewards have punished McLaren and Alonso for their part in yesterday s qualifying fiasco, which saw Fernando Alonso obstruct his team-mate Lewis Hamilton, preventing the Brit from completing a final flying lap, and thereby losing pole position to the Spaniard.
The Stewards felt that Alonso had â€˜unnecessarily impeded another driver after delaying his exit from the â€˜pit box in full knowledge that his young team-mate was queuing behind him. For this reason â€˜he will be penalised by a loss of 5 grid positions read a FIA press release, dropping the twenty-six year old to sixth on the grid behind the Toyota of Ralf Schumacher. Lewis Hamilton has been promoted to Pole with Heidfeld alongside. Raikkonen will start from third after a difficult qualifying session for Ferrari, with Nico Rosberg fourth ahead of Ralf Schumacher.
Team Vodafone Mercedes have also been punished for their part in what Stewards deemed to be â€˜prejudicial to the interests of the competition and to the interests of motor sport generally . The Woking based outfit will be unable to accrue any Constructor Championship points from this weekend but have already decided to appeal the decision, with the results from today s race provisional until the next hearing of the FIA s International Court of Appeal.
If upheld, the decision would allow Ferrari to close up on McLaren in the Championship standings. Ferrari currently trail McLaren by 27 points with, including today s race, only seven Grand Prix remaining in 2007. However, with Ferrari struggling this weekend, with Massa down in fourteenth position and Raikkonen third, Hamilton would likely extend McLaren s advantage over their Italian archrival should the decision be later overturned on appeal.