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Home > Sports > Formula One > Reuters > Report

Ferrari crowned F1 champions

September 21, 2007 22:36 IST

Ferrari [Images] were confirmed as Formula One champions for a record 15th time on Friday after McLaren accepted an unprecedented $100 million fine and loss of all their 2007 constructors' points.

"McLaren Racing has notified the [International Automobile Federation] FIA of its intention not to appeal the verdict of the World Motor Sport Council," the Mercedes-powered team said in a statement.

The Paris-based governing body had set a 1500 GMT deadline for McLaren to appeal against a sentence meted out last week at a hearing into a spying controversy that has clouded the sport since July.

"Having now had time to study the judgement of the World Motor Sport Council with its lawyers and shareholders, McLaren thinks it is in the best interests of the sport and its goal of winning races and world championships, not to appeal," the statement said.

Team boss Ron Dennis added: "We believe the time has come to put this huge distraction behind us. McLaren wants to win races and world championships.

"We are fortunate to have, and continue to receive, unwavering support from our employees, sponsor partners and Formula One fans across the world -- all of whom are equally keen that we totally focus on winning this year's Drivers' Championship and the remaining three races of the season."


McLaren had been leading Ferrari in the constructors' standings before the Paris hearing.

The decision left Ferrari on 161 points, with BMW [Images] Sauber second with 90 and a total of 54 remaining to be won.

The constructors' title is Ferrari's first of the post-Michael Schumacher era. They won six in a row between 1999 and 2004 when the great German was at his most dominant.

McLaren still lead the drivers' championship, with 22-year-old British rookie Lewis Hamilton [Images] two points clear of Spanish team mate and double world champion Fernando Alonso [Images].

Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen [Images], winner in Belgium last weekend, is third and 13 points adrift of Hamilton. The next race is in Japan [Images] on September 30.

McLaren said it was clear from the full judgement that the World Motor Sport Council had concluded that the charge that one of the team's employees had unauthorised possession of confidential Ferrari information was proven.

The Paris hearing was presented with emails from earlier in the year between Alonso and test driver Pedro de la Rosa in which they discussed Ferrari information in the possession of chief designer Mike Coughlan.

Coughlan was suspended at the beginning of July after a 780-page Ferrari technical dossier was found at his home in southern England [Images]. Ferrari say it was sent to him by now-dismissed employee Nigel Stepney.

"To our regret and embarrassment, the content of the previously unknown emails demonstrated possession not being limited to a single person, albeit unsanctioned in any way by the team," McLaren said.

"The major principle of the issue for McLaren is: this information was not used to gain advantage on its cars.

"Moving forwards, and in consultation with our shareholders, we will now review and further strengthen our internal compliance structures and processes."

© Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.
Formula One: The Complete Coverage