Hakkinen keeps Austria win, but McLaren loses out

The stewards of the Austrian Grand Prix have allowed Mika Hakkinen to keep his 10 points from winning the race, but have penalised McLaren the 10 constructors' championship points won by the Finn at the A1-Ring.

Hakkinen keeps Austria win, but McLaren loses out

The loss of points, plus a US$50,000 (£33,000) fine, was confirmed today (Tuesday), following an enquiry into the discovery of a missing official seal on an electronic control unit (ECU) during post-race scrutineering.

The six drivers' and constructors' points gained by Hakkinen's team mate David Coulthard for finishing second in Austria were not affected by the decision.

The stewards met in London to hear evidence from McLaren team manager Dave Ryan and managing director Martin Whitmarsh, plus FIA technical delegate Jo Bauer, representing the sport's governing body.

Bauer stated that a post-event inspection of the ECU, the car's electronic brain, proved that it could not have been tampered with, but confirmed that the loss of the seal is an offence in itself.

In a statement issued this evening, the stewards said: "The technical delegate reported that there was an absence of a seal from the ECU and that he was satisfied that the absence of this one seal from the ECU could not have resulted in the team or their supplier being able to alter the configuration of the unit in order to run unapproved software.

"The technical delegate opined that car number one (Hakkinen's McLaren) did not comply with article 8.2.7 of the FIA Formula 1 technical regulations during the Austrian GP as the team was unable to present all its sealed units to the FIA at the end of the event.

"As it is the duty of the team to ensure that their car complies with the conditions of eligibility and safety throughout practice and the race (Article 7 of the 2000 Formula 1 sporting regulations), the stewards of the meeting impose a fine of US$50,000 on the team and because of the exceptional circumstances of this case only deduct the points awarded to car number one in the constructors' championship."

The verdict leaves Ferrari's Michael Schumacher still six points ahead of Coulthard and eight ahead of Hakkinen in the drivers' championship, but puts Ferrari back ahead in the constructors' championship, with 92 points to Mclaren's 88.

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