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Last Updated: Friday, 16 November 2007, 10:58 GMT
McLaren await F1 appeal verdict
Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen (left) and McLaren's Lewis Hamilton
Neither Raikkonen or Hamilton want the title settled in the courtroom
McLaren will discover whether their appeal against the result of the Brazilian Grand Prix has been successful on Friday.

If the FIA upholds the appeal, Britain's Lewis Hamilton could depose Kimi Raikkonen as world champion.

McLaren have objected to Williams and BMW avoiding punishment for using fuel that was too cool in Brazil.

Lawyers for McLaren have called for a reclassification of the championship, a move which has angered Ferrari.

Ferrari accused McLaren of being "naked opportunists", after the English team's previous claims that the championship should not be decided in the courtroom.

Hamilton was seventh in Brazil behind a Williams and both BMWs.

If Williams' Nico Rosberg and BMW Sauber pair Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld are disqualified, the Englishman could be moved up to fourth and gain enough points to overtake Raikkonen, who won the race and the title.

Hamilton finished the season one point behind the Finn.

It could be said McLaren are shameless hypocrites devoid of any integrity

Ferrari lawyer Nigel Tozzi

McLaren barrister Ian Mill pointed to 26 instances in Formula One history where there had been disqualifications and a championship reclassification.

"We offer no special plea on behalf of the team, but I ask you to do what normally happens," he said.

"It's clear the infringement of this rule did have a performance-enhancing effect.

"If you put in cool fuel it increases the horse power.

"The principle is clear: if there was a performance enhancement, there was a breach and there has to be a disqualification.

"I ask you to address this as though it was any team at any stage of the season.

"It cannot make a difference it was the last race of the season, and that it will decide the championship.

"Invariably, whenever there has been a disqualification, there has been a reclassification."

McLaren were fined $100m (48.9m) and stripped of their constructors' points in September in a spying controversy involving Ferrari.

The governing body ruled, however, that the McLaren drivers should keep their points because of an amnesty offered to them if they provided evidence, despite strong arguments against them remaining in the championship.

Mill turned that argument against McLaren's rivals.

"The driver may be entirely innocent... but he has the benefit of the infringing car," he said.

"It must be right that if the team is disqualified, the driver loses the points as well. In the other case, the drivers were offered immunity if they assisted the FIA."

But Ferrari's Nigel Tozzi countered: "This is not the way a Formula One world championship should be won.

"Mr Hamilton himself, potentially the only beneficiary, has said very clearly he does not want to win the championship this way.

"Mr Norbert Haug, head of Mercedes motorsport, has again gone on the record and said McLaren are not appealing in order to claim the championship.

"Mr Martin Whitmarsh (McLaren F1 CEO) in an interview yesterday said 'finding a way to award the world drivers' championship to Lewis retrospectively, is not at all what this is about'.


"It could be said McLaren are shameless hypocrites devoid of any integrity, or maybe what their representatives have said should be taken at face value.

"If what they want is clarity, then by all means let them have that, but do not allow them to have the world championship this way.

"It would be a serious injustice to Mr Raikkonen should the world title be taken away from him, a fact recognised by Mr Hamilton and Mr (Fernando) Alonso.

"As McLaren are fond of saying: 'The championship should be decided on the track and not in the courtroom'," he concluded.

Williams and BMW Sauber argued that McLaren's appeal was inadmissible because Hamilton's team had not been an interested party in the stewards' initial inquiry. and had not appealed against the race classification immediately after the event.

It is widely expected that the FIA will not change the race classification even if it decides to punish Williams and BMW Sauber and it is unlikely to result in Raikkonen losing out.

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