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McLaren could face points penalty, says Bernie Ecclestone
November 28, 2007 19:23 IST
Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone has raised the possibility of McLaren starting the 2008 season with a points penalty if the team's new car design is based on information from Ferrari [Images].
"I hope not, but it could happen," Ecclestone said of a hypothetical points deduction in an interview with German magazine Auto Motor und Sport.
A transcript was also published on the official Formula One Web site (www.formula1.com) on Wednesday.
McLaren were stripped of all their constructors' points this season and fined $100 million (48.5 million pounds) for possessing technical information from Ferrari.
A fresh spying row erupted earlier this month when 2006 champions Renault were charged with unauthorised possession of McLaren information.
Representatives of the French team have been summoned to a hearing of the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA)'s World Motor Sport Council in Monaco on December 6.
"I do not know the extent of what they have done and what they have not done," said Ecclestone.
"I think the difference between them and McLaren is that McLaren were getting information over (time from) a person, rather than somebody has stolen a lot of drawings in one go." Ecclestone said the FIA should have kept out of the controversy.
"I did tell (McLaren boss) Ron Dennis, when the whole mess started, to report to the police that there was a case of theft. Tell them that there is an employee in the house who is receiving or purchasing stolen property.
"If it was dealt in that way, we would not have had the problems we faced this year," he added. "It should be a matter for the police and the court. They have much better tools to find out the truth."
In other comments, Ecclestone hailed Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen [Images] as a deserving champion, praised Briton Lewis Hamilton [Images] as the best rookie he had ever seen and blamed McLaren for his failure to win the title.
He singled out BMW [Images] Sauber's Polish driver Robert Kubica and Toro Rosso's young German Sebastian Vettel as new drivers to watch but suggested time was up for Ralf Schumacher and Giancarlo Fisichella.
"Both have been for quite a time in decent teams and should have performed better than they had," said Ecclestone of two drivers who will test for tail-enders Force India next week.
"They ought to give very serious consideration whether it makes sense to move into a less competitive environment. Maybe if they change teams, they'll get a bit of a wake-up call."
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