McLaren fails with appeal

No complaints from Hamilton as Kimi Raikkonen has finally been confirmed as the world champion. By Alan Henry.

McLaren's bid to challenge the results of last month's Brazilian Grand Prix failed when the FIA declared their appeal inadmissible and upheld Kimi Raikkonen's victory in the world championship, finally putting an end to Lewis Hamilton's chances of the title. The legal process, which could have seen Hamilton declared the world champion, collapsed after the sport's governing body dismissed McLaren's claim that Nico Rosberg's Williams and the BMW Saubers of Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica be disqualified from fourth, fifth and sixth places in the final race of the year for an apparent fuel infringement.

Hamilton had said McLaren were not seeking to win him the title in a court action, although any disqualification of the three drivers who finished ahead of him and the subsequent reallocation of points would have changed the outcome of the championship.

"As I have said all along Kimi deserved to win the 2007 world drivers' championship and neither I nor anyone at Vodafone McLaren Mercedes had any desire to take it off him in court," said Hamilton. "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 in this year's world drivers' championship."

It was a verdict expected by most Formula One insiders and rounded off an embarrassing couple of days for McLaren, after their barrister seemed to have been arguing that Hamilton be promoted to the world championship, even though the company's chief executive, Martin Whitmarsh, had specifically emphasised that his team only appealed against the stewards' decision in Brazil to get a clarification of the fuel regulations.

Ferrari's 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 spying controversy that led to McLaren being stripped of all their constructors' points and fined $100m (�50m). "The decision . . . finally brings to an end a very intense season, both on and off the track, he said. "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."

The official report from the FIA said: "Following a report from the technical delegate indicating that the temperature of fuel pumped into the cars No. 9 Nick Heidfeld, No. 10 Robert Kubica, No. 16 Nico Rosberg and No. 17 Kazuki Nakajima was more than 10 degree Celsius below ambient temperature, the stewards of the meeting met to consider whether a penalty should be imposed. Having heard the evidence they decided not to impose a penalty as they had sufficient doubt as to both the temperature of the fuel on board the car and to the true ambient temperature.

"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."

McLaren still have to face an FIA technical audit of the technology being applied to their 2008 challenger and may well be called to answer questions on its specification at the next meeting of the FIA's world motor sport council on December 6-7.

The council is also expected to decide whether the Renault Formula One team used McLaren technology brought by one of its former employees when he took a new job working for the French company.