McLaren just want rules clarification

McLaren F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh believes it would be bad for Formula One if Lewis Hamilton won the drivers' title in tomorrow's hearing of the Court of Appeal

But he says McLaren's appeal was necessary to clarify the rules.

"It would not be good but we do all need to know how the rules and procedures will operate going forward," Whitmarsh told in an interview ahead of tomorrow's London hearing.

"We ourselves lost a constructors' championship at the International Court of Appeal in 1999 when it was, in effect, retrospectively awarded to Ferrari when the ruling of the Stewards that their bargeboards were illegal was overturned. We were upset but we accepted it."

McLaren lodged the appeal after the Brazilian Grand Prix stewards decided to not impose any penalties on BMW-Sauber and Williams for having fuel that appeared to be too cool.

Hamilton lost the title by one point after finishing the Interlagos race in seventh place, and if the Williams or BMW drivers get a penalty tomorrow, it could mean the title would go to Hamilton instead of Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen.

Whitmarsh admitted he would have preferred to see the title battle decided on track, and reckons that Hamilton winning the crown in court would not necessarily be a victory for McLaren.

"I don't want to anticipate the verdict of the FIA International Court of Appeal judges," Whitmarsh added.

"Besides, it depends what you mean by 'victory'. Like all true devotees of motor sport, we would never like to see a drivers' championship decided in court rather than on track.

"Finding a way to award the drivers' championship to Lewis retrospectively is not at all, however, what this is about."

Whitmarsh, however, defended McLaren's decision to appeal, saying it is vital to clarify the regulations.

"We were mystified by the FIA Stewards' decision," he said. "According to the FIA Stewards' own colleague, the FIA's Technical Delegate Jo Bauer, the Williams and BMW-Sauber cars were found to have been refuelled with fuel that had been chilled to a level below which we thought the regulations would allow, thereby giving a performance advantage.

"The FIA Stewards, however, decided not to exclude those cars from the race classification. We didn't understand why that was then, and we don't understand it now.

"So 'victory', for us, would be a clarification of the rationale behind the FIA Stewards' decision at the 2007 Brazilian Grand Prix - a clarification, indeed, that we regard as essential not only for us but for all our competitors, to enable all teams to race in compliance with the regulation regarding fuel temperatures throughout the 2008 Formula One season."

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