FIA president Max Mosley has said Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso would have been thrown out of the Formula One title race if he had got his way.
Mosley and Dennis are at odds over the severity of the punishment
Mosley told the BBC that he was in a minority on the World Motor Sport Council that wanted to penalise McLaren more severely in the 'spygate' scandal.
"I would have taken all the points away from Hamilton and Alonso.
"There is a suspicion they had an advantage that they should not have had," he said.
"A significant majority on the council thought they should keep their points, about five (mostly lawyers) thought all the points should go.
"I'm slightly disappointed because when history comes to be written and all the emotions are gone they will say, 'Hang on a minute, we just don't know what happened and would Raikkonen or Massa have won had it not been for this information?'
"The lawyers all felt everything should go because how can you give the cup to a driver who may have had an unfair advantage over the other drivers.
"But on the other side of it we have a brilliant championship between Alonso and Hamilton, and the sporting people were saying 'If you interfere with that you are spoiling a very good championship. It wasn't the drivers' fault.'"
McLaren were fined £49.2m and docked all their constructors' points for being in possession of Ferrari technical data and have not yet decided whether to appeal against the decision.
Only the immunity Mosley granted the McLaren drivers - Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and reserve Pedro de la Rosa - in return for information prevented them from being thrown out.
"This is something that happens in all commerce, even in criminal matters," insisted Mosley.
"It's very usual to offer a witness immunity or an indemnity in return for information. It is sometimes the only way you can get the information.
"That having been done, and even though the e-mails were pretty damaging, I couldn't possibly go back on that."
Mosley, though, feels the whole affair has cast a stain over the sport, and that might not sit well with the rookie Briton should he go on to win the title this year.
"I think he (Hamilton) will probably feel more comfortable if he wins a subsequent championship, which I am sure he will, without any of these question marks," he said.
Meanwhile, McLaren team bos Ron Dennis said any decision not to appeal against the fine should not be taken as an admission of guilt by the team.
"I can guarantee that our cars have never, ever raced with anybody else's intellectual property," said the 60-year-old.
"But does McLaren take a financial hit in the interests of the sport?
"Once I've reached a decision, I'll make a recommendation to my shareholders, and it is they who will decide."