The Spy Saga finally comes to a close with a decision finally out (Read my earlier blog post regarding the issue) :
“McLaren have been excluded from the 2007 constructors’ championship and fined US$100 million following Thursday’s FIA World Motor Sport Council hearing in Paris. Drivers Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton have not been penalized and are free to continue their fight for the drivers’ title.”
Now I’m sure a lot of people will have different opinion on this issue, some will strongly agree (primarily Ferrari fans) and some will strongly disagree (primarily McLaren fans). And I won’t be surprised to see someone accusing FIA of favoring Ferrari, like Stewart did a few days back. But the thing is pretty simple, FIA has had some evidence in this case and thats what prompted such a decision. Formula One is not an easy sport, a lot of money is involved here, and a fortune is spent on the car’s development, and if someone takes that information from you in an unfair fashion, you have all the right to contest it in court and claim justice. Now how much did McLaren benefit from the documents they got? I have no idea, but FIA certainly has, no wonder they have made this decision, so if McLaren were found guilty of something, only then FIA has taken such a step.
The most important thing against McLaren was that there was evidence that the information was passed onto McLaren, but in the last hearing it was not proved on “lack of evidence” grounds, but it was clearly mentioned that if in future any further evidence is found, the issue will be again brought up into the court, and now it has. Since there were some evidence that some communication was done by Coughlan with McLaren drivers, so this might have been a big cause of this decision, and maybe even something which we don’t know yet.
Anyways, the issue will be more clearly be in news over the next days, but those you are still willing to contest this decision, I have a question for you. If you were Ferrari and carrying out car development work costing millions of dollars, and you come to know that your biggest competitor has the information, what would you do? I think your answer will be pretty much be the same as what FIA has.
Exclusion from the championship was quite an obvious thing, but I believe that the financial penalty is a bit too harsh. Its too big a money, and although its not what McLaren will have to pay, they’ll still get the television money and will pay somewhere around £25m. The issue will be more transparent when the full report comes out on Friday, and I’m sure there is something in it, which we don’t know yet. Ron Dennis is not happy ofcourse, and its really going to dent the McLaren image. But then its F1, the world moves on as fast as the F1 cars. The drivers’ championship is still in McLaren’s hands, and it was always the case to be, FIA wouldn’t have imposed any penalty to the drivers’, and this had to be the result. So now its all on the final four races, who will win the title…Alonso or Hamilton, in either case, McLaren retains the #1 badge next season, and is the winner.