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Wednesday, March 18, 1998 Published at 18:52 GMT

Sport: Formula 1

McLaren 'deal' facing censure
image: [ Coulthard hung back to allow Hakkinen to take the chequered flag ]
Coulthard hung back to allow Hakkinen to take the chequered flag

BBC correspondent Paul Newman: "Total ban would be impossible to police" (0'40'')
Motor sport authorities have warned that any repetition of the incident between David Coulthard and Mika Hakkinen at the Australian Grand Prix will be "severely punished".

The McLaren drivers agreed before the race in February that whoever reached the first corner first would be allowed to win the race.

Hakkinen took the lead from pole position and was heading for a comfortable victory before he was mistakenly called in for a pit stop and lost the lead.

Coulthard inherited first place but allowed his Finnish team-mate past two laps before the finish to honour their agreement.

[ image: Hakkinen victorious]
Hakkinen victorious
Hakkinen praised the Scot for his "great sportsmanship" but Formula One fans - particularly those who had bet on Coulthard - were outraged that they had been robbed of a fair result and called for a ban on such "team orders".

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) has stopped short of such a ban but instructed race stewards to come down hard on any similar incidents in the future.

A statement issued after a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) in Paris said: "The World Council is informing the stewards of all future international events that 'any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition' should in future be penalised severely."

Coulthard said after the incident that he would expect Hakkinen to do the same for him if the situation arises in the Brazilian Grand Prix next week.

The FIA also revealed that the ban imposed on the Jerez circuit in Spain staging another Formula One Grand Prix had been lifted.

The circuit had been taken off the F1 schedule following an incident at last year's season-ending European race when the mayor of Jerez and local government officials made their way on to the podium during the presentation ceremony.

The mayor, Mr Pedro Pacheco, attended the WMSC meeting to explain the "misunderstanding" and after accepting his explanation, the circuit has been cleared to stage races again.


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