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Raikkonen confirmed as F1 champion
November 19, 2007 11:53 IST
Ferrari's [Images] Kimi Raikkonen [Images] was confirmed as 2007 Formula One world champion on Friday after a court rejected a McLaren appeal that could have handed Lewis Hamilton [Images] the title instead.
The governing International Automobile Federation's (FIA) independent court of appeal, whose four judges met in London [Images] for the hearing on Thursday, said McLaren's protest had been rejected.
"Having heard the explanations of both parties and having examined the various documents and other evidence, the court decided that the appeal lodged by Vodafone McLaren Mercedes is inadmissible," it said.
Hamilton, runner-up and a sensation in his rookie year, made clear in a McLaren statement that he is not troubled by the outcome.
"As I have said all along, Kimi deserved to win the 2007 world drivers championship and neither I nor anyone at...McLaren had any desire to take it off him in court," said the 22-year-old Briton.
"That was not the purpose of the team's appeal.
"I am looking forward to the 2008 season and racing Kimi, and all my other rivals, on track and hopefully to be able to go one better than the second place I achieved [this year]."
His team had appealed against the decision of stewards at last month's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix not to penalise BMW [Images] Sauber and Williams drivers after an enquiry into whether the fuel used in their cars was cooler than allowed.
Although McLaren said they simply wanted to clarify the rules, any disqualification of the three drivers who finished ahead of Hamilton and subsequent reallocation of points would have changed the outcome of the championship.
Finland's Raikkonen, who won at Interlagos on October 21, beat Hamilton by a single point.
McLaren said the court's decision was at odds with that of the chief steward Tony Scott-Andrews, who had allowed them to lodge the appeal. Chief executive Martin Whitmarsh hoped the governing body would now clarify the fuel rules.
Hamilton, who would have been the youngest champion as well as the first rookie to take the title, had been favourite for the crown before his lead evaporated in the last two races in China and Brazil [Images].
The Briton finished seventh in the final race, behind BMW Sauber's Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica and Williams' Nico Rosberg.
Ferrari's lawyer Nigel Tozzi had told the hearing on Thursday it would be a "serious injustice" for Raikkonen to be stripped of his title.
Ferrari chief executive Jean Todt said he was glad to have put the episode behind him, with his team now sure of both titles at the end of a tormented year dominated by a spy controversy that led to McLaren being stripped of all their constructors' points and fined $100 million.
"The decision...finally brings to an end a very intense season, both on and off the track," he said on Ferrari's web site.
"Today a final and desperate attempt to change the result obtained on the track was rejected. Now all our efforts are focused on preparing for next season."
Formula One: The Complete Coverage