'A championship of poisons'

Ferrari’s president, Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, called this year’s Formula One series “a championship of poisons” and attacked the World Motor Sport Council’s handling of the spy scandal.

“We saw people who lied, people who improved the performance of the car in a non-sporting fashion,” he said. “We saw our work focused on looking for the irrefutable proof of this unsportsmanlike behaviour.”

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen clinched the drivers’ title at the Brazilian GP, followed by McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso.

The spy scandal that marred the season led to a record $100m (£50m) fine for McLaren after they were found guilty of using leaked data from Ferrari.

McLaren were also kicked out of the constructors’ championship, which Ferrari won comfortably, but Hamilton and Alonso were allowed to keep their points. McLaren were sanctioned in September by the council after the sport’s governing body, the FIA, obtained fresh evidence. But at a hearing in July the council had ruled that, although McLaren had had Ferrari data, there was insufficient proof that the material had been misused and therefore the British team were not punished.

“(It was) an absurd sentence, which affirmed that there was treachery but this treachery was not underlined in the decision,” Di Montezemolo said. “The sentence was unacceptable.” He likened Hamilton and Alonso’s run at the title without any penalty to “a jockey who races with a doped horse and wins in the end.”

The FIA, meanwhile, announced a total freeze on engine development for 10 years, starting from next season.

The freeze may be reconsidered after five years and called off, after a further two-year notice period, if all stakeholders agree.

Alan Henry © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2007