McLaren’s Hungarian Appeal Goes Ahead

After the Hungarian Grand Prix, McLaren were docked constructors championship points for their part in the pit-lane fiasco. Last week, McLaren were thrown out of the constructors championship for 2007 over espionage claims by Ferrari.

It appears that even though they have now been thrown out of the constructors championship, their appeal against the Hungarian Grand Prix punishment is still going ahead. McLaren were set to score 15 points at the Hungaroring however race stewards believed they had not acted in the best interests of the sport during qualifying and were docked the 15 points.

At the weekend, McLaren stated they were unsure whether or not to continue with their Hungarian appeal in light of the espionage saga punishment however on Monday, the FIA announced that the appeal session was still scheduled to take place on Wednesday in Paris. The FIA s statement read, “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.”

Although at first glance the appeal seems a waste of time given that McLaren have been kicked out of the constructors championship, there are more complicated factors at work. The $100 million fine doled out to McLaren in light of the espionage saga takes into account the earnings the team would have got from wherever they finished in the constructors championship based on points scored up to and including the Italian Grand Prix at Monza. The more points they won, the more chance there is that they will stay ahead of Ferrari s final tally at the end of the season, and this means that they will have more money deducted from the fine.

Ron Dennis explained, “”The thing that we have to balance up is that if we accept that moving forward into an appeal on the findings of the World Council on Thursday, then the appeal process next week is relatively pointless.

“But the financial settlement is structured in two parts – I am really looking at this moment, to try and identify those things that we feel comfortable about in order to achieve closure. If we can achieve closure, at this moment, that is my recommendation to the board and shareholders.”