Sun, Nov 18, 2007 - Page 24 News List

F1: FIA rejects fuel appeal,

AP , PARIS

Formula One's governing body rejected McLaren's appeal to penalize four drivers for fuel irregularities at the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix, letting Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen keep his world championship title.

The FIA's court of appeal ruled on Friday that the appeal was inadmissible and that it could not punish BMW and Williams, whose drivers finished fourth, fifth, sixth and 10th in Sao Paulo on Oct. 21. McLaren's Lewis Hamilton finished seventh in the race and would have taken the drivers' title if two of the three drivers who finished ahead of him had been disqualified.

"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," the FIA's International Court of Appeal said in a statement.

Hamilton finished second in the overall standings, one point behind Raikkonen, who won the Brazilian Grand Prix. Two-time champion Fernando Alonso was third overall, also one point behind Raikkonen but with fewer second-place finishes than Hamilton.

"Despite the fact that the FIA's steward, Tony Scott Andrews, accepted McLaren's appeal when it was presented to him after the race in the Interlagos paddock, the FIA International Court of Appeal has decided that the appeal was not admissible," the McLaren team said in a statement. "This was despite the stewards making the official results subject to our appeal."

Hamilton said in the same statement that Raikkonen is a worthy champion.

"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," Hamilton said. "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 be able to go one better than the second place I achieved in this year's World Drivers Championship."

Ferrari welcomed the decision.

Both Hamilton and Alonso have said they did not want the title to be decided by a court.

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