September 13, 2007

McLaren lose 2007 points, fined $100m : but Alonso and Hamilton keep their driver's points. They are, however, barred from appearing on the podium the rest of the season. More news here.

posted by cabuki to auto racing at 02:04 PM - 13 comments

I think this will kill McLaren financially. Itís obvious at this point that they would have been the constructor champion.

posted by cabuki at 02:06 PM on September 13, 2007

"Entrapment" as one friend of mine called it. Ferrari disgust me. As multiple people in F1 have said, this goes on ALL the time in F1. Hell, Peter Windsor even said on TV that when he was working for Williams, they once found a rival team mechanic in the back of their truck measuring parts. Espionage in F1 is nothing new. Jackie Stewart has said this has gone on since the championship started, and that this was a witch hunt. Now I usually think Stewart is an idiot, but he's right on the money this time. I think in retaliation, McLaren should demand the insides of Kimi's head. After all, there was secret McLaren information in his brain when he went to Ferrari. Ferrari are scum and FIA are utterly corrupt and in bed with them. I can't understand how Max can look at himself in the mirror. (But then he is a lawyer. Seeing a scumbag when you look in the mirror is an occupational hazard.) Ferrari are the constructors champs for 2007. And Luca Di Montezemolo has gone on record a few days ago as saying they see winning the title this way as still being a "worthy" title. And the wording I've read says McLaren representatives are barred from the podium. The drivers will still be allowed, as they're excluded from the penalty because they gave evidence. Ferrari must be laughing. Killing their biggest rival in this season with the constructors points penalty AND next year with the fine. Note to FIA: SHOW US THE EVIDENCE. I am quite prepared to side with Ferrari IF it can be shown that McLaren are truly guilty of what the FIA say they are. So far I've seen absolutely zero evidence to indicate that they are.

posted by Drood at 03:19 PM on September 13, 2007

Although Drood provides some additional background, the linked article is pretty sparse in detail as to the infraction/controversy that led to this fine. Anyone with a good handle on it want to give more detail or link to a more detailed write-up?

posted by holden at 04:16 PM on September 13, 2007

holden: Here's a good article giving a timeline of the whole thing The essence of the scandal is that someone at Ferrari gave secrets to his buddy at McLaren. Ferrari found out and it hit the fan.

posted by cabuki at 04:32 PM on September 13, 2007

$100M fine? That is seriously WTF territory, my friends. I can't remember anything remotely close to it. West Ham, after all, only had to pay GBP5.5M to keep their place in the Prem and staying up was worth a heck of a lot more than that. How in the world can this, or nearly any, sporting offense short of something causing multiple deaths justify a fine this size?

posted by billsaysthis at 07:30 PM on September 13, 2007

I think it should be a bigger fine so they think twice about doing it again.

posted by Knuckles at 08:07 PM on September 13, 2007

I just hope NASCAR doesn't get wind of this imagine what they'll start doing with all of the cheating going on in the garages

posted by TAZ29 at 08:26 PM on September 13, 2007

Kind of makes NASCAR's penalties look pretty lame, doesn't it? 100 million??? Damn, that's a lot of money. Dr. Z's going to have to go back to driving his Chrysler Sebring for awhile. The FIA is truly corrupt. To show my disgust, I'm never going to buy a Ferrari.

posted by eccsport78 at 09:15 PM on September 13, 2007

...I like Chrysler Sebrings...happen to drive one m'self, actually. but besides that, that is a large amount of money. a very, very, VERY large amount of money. i read that this was the largest F1 fine ever issued by oh, about 40 times the previous record of US$2.5M? Crazy stuff. See, Bill Belichick, your fine's not so bad.

posted by boredom_08 at 11:16 PM on September 13, 2007

Yes, Sebrings are nice cars. They just don't quite match up to the good doctor's S63 AMG, though. So is Mercedes expected to pay this fine? If so, do it's shareholders have a right to file a claim against the FIA? They can just pull a number out of their ass? How can they possibly justify $100 million if they can't prove McLaren even benefitted from the intel?

posted by eccsport78 at 12:53 AM on September 14, 2007

I can't get all worked up about this. FIA rulings carry no real value in the public eye, I think. In 1996, Schumacher lost all his championship points, and finished the season dead last in the drivers championship. Is this what people recall? Similarly, nobody will forget that the McLarens were the better cars of the 2007 season. In my mind, the constructors championship is not that big a deal. The drivers championship is the one that matters. The constructors' is there to provide pseudo-suspense when the drivers race is over too early. Mercedes and Vodafone will have no shortage of good stories and images for their marketing campaigns from the 2007 season, especially if Lewis Hamilton can pull it off. As for the fine, I'm certain it will be reduced considerably after a couple of rounds with the lawyers, and McLaren sponsors will (more or less) gladly foot the bill as compensation for all this nice promo material they will get from Lewis' rookie season championship.

posted by qbert72 at 07:28 AM on September 14, 2007

$100m sounds like a lot of money, and by any sensible standard, it is, but F1 isn't sensible. It's estimated that McLaren spent twice that last year just to build its engine. Also, the amount they will actually pay is going to be a lot lower than that, not least because the fine includes any prize money they would have won this season (in other words, they will only (!) be liable to pay about half the fine). As far as the publicity bodyblow goes, as qbert points out, they won't care too much as the rest of the world doesn't give much of a toss which team wins and is really only interested in which driver wins, and it looks like their bringing home a one-two in that competition this year, so sponsors won't mind too much I suspect. It's a massive fine, it's disproportionate to the crime (or what we know of the crime), but it's not as bad as it sounds at first.

posted by JJ at 09:51 AM on September 14, 2007

According to the information that came out today, it may not be that disproportionate. Fernando Alonso knew McLaren F1 received Ferrari information over period of three months. McLaren apparently received data over three months that "concerned the Ferrari car's brakes, weight distribution, aerodynamic balance and tyre inflation." The FIA have released emails sent between reigning World Champion Fernando Alonso and McLaren test driver Pedro De la Rosa that shows that both knew the team were receiving, (and intending to use), Ferrari's information. De la Rosa asked Mike Coughlan, (the original employee of McLaren named in the spy "scandal"), "for specific details of Ferrari's braking system" and "the designer revealed to the test driver "we are looking at something similar"."

posted by Mr Bismarck at 05:18 PM on September 14, 2007

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