FIA's Donnelly denies Ferrari bias

FIA representative Alan Donnelly has rubbished suggestions that the governing body is favouring Ferrari in this year's championship

FIA's Donnelly denies Ferrari bias

Championship leader Lewis Hamilton has been hit by several penalties during the course of the season, including at last week's Japanese Grand Prix, where the Briton was penalised for his first corner move.

The penalties have triggered suggestions that the FIA is helping Ferrari this year.

But Donnelly has strongly denied Hamilton has been targeted by the FIA and said Ferrari are treated equally.

"I read so much rubbish on the decisions taken by the stewards this year," Donnelly was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper. "They write that the FIA and the stewards are always favouring Ferrari, and that we don't want Hamilton to become world champion.

"You just need one example to debunk that theory: at Monaco the stewards noticed that on Raikkonen's F2008 the wheels had not been fitted before the three-minute mark as allowed in the regulations. So the stewards penalised Kimi with a drive-through in a track where you can't overtake."

Donnelly also defended the penalty received by Hamilton in Japan.

"But at that speed he could never do the turn, and by going off he could have caused a much worse accident. It's the FIA's responsibility to make the drivers have a safe and honest behaviour."

Several drivers have called for a change to the stewarding system, asking for a former racer to assist in the decision-making process.

Donnelly, however, reckons the idea is wrong.

"I don't feel that is the correct solution, because their experience is tied to the past, from when they used to drive. And since then, let's say ten years ago, racing has changed," he said.

He added: "At the beginning of every season a list of people with the requisites to do this job is compiled. It's written by (FIA president Max) Mosley who is advised by the president of this sector of sport.

"These are people who, every weekend, work in some important event. They are given a superlicense just like the drivers'. We have stewards who have done this job for 20-25 years, when some of these drivers weren't even born yet."

The Briton also denied that the FIA were handing out too many penalties this year.

"I don't agree. In 16 races 69 penalties have been inflicted: 35 originated from the changing of engines, gearboxes, or going over the speed limit in the pit lane, and the other 34 came from incidents. I don't think that's a high percentage, also keeping in mind that we analyse tens more cases and we decide not to intervene.

"This year we also have a second screen that allows us to watch again the footage from different angles. One of the complaints we used to receive in the past was that penalties were inflicted late. So we kept up with the times.

"At Fuji we decided immediately that both Lewis and Massa had to be penalized. Other times, as was the case with Bourdais, we have to wait until after the race to talk to the drivers. But out decision are always well thought out."

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