A successful appeal by McLaren against the decision of the Brazilian Grand Prix race stewards not to impose a penalty against Williams and BMW for fuel irregularities may still not secure Lewis Hamilton the world championship, autosport.com has learned.
McLaren have notified the FIA of their intention to appeal against the decision not to punish BMW Sauber and Williams after their fuel was found to be cooler than the regulations allow during the Brazilian GP.
Cooler fuel provides two clear benefits for teams; it allows the fuel to enter the car quicker at pitstops and it also provides a power boost.
The stewards felt, however, that there was insufficient evidence to prove that the fuel in the car was too cold, and they were unable to say for definite what the actual ambient temperature was.
That decision left McLaren insiders baffled, especially because F1's Sporting Working Group has, according to sources, clearly laid out that fuel temperatures only matter when taken from the fuel rigs and not the cars, and the only accepted ambient temperature is that on the official Formula One Management information screens.
The SWG protocol suggests that there is a chance the stewards' decision could be overturned.
However, there is no guarantee if Williams and BMW Sauber are excluded that Hamilton will be moved up the order.
Article 168 of the International Sporting Code makes it clear that it is at the stewards' discretion whether or not cars are moved up the order in the event of other cars being excluded.
It states: "The stewards of the meeting shall declare the resulting amendment in the placings and awards, and they shall decide whether the next competitor should be moved up in the classification."