Record fine for McLaren
McLaren have been hit with an unprecented $100 million fine after being found guilty of spying - but Lewis Hamilton keeps his championship lead.
By Michael Wise
Last Updated: 14/09/07 8:52am
The FIA has hit McLaren-Mercedes with an unprecedented $100 million fine and docked the team its constructors' championship points for the current season after finding them guilty of spying on rivals Ferrari.
However, after both the team's drivers gave evidence in the case, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso have escaped sanction - meaning they are free to chase this year's world drivers' title.
"The WMSC (World Motor Sports Council) has stripped Vodafone McLaren Mercedes of all constructors points in the 2007 FIA Formula One world championship and the team can score no points for the remainder of the season," the FIA said.
"Furthermore the team will pay a fine equal to $100 million (£49.2 million), less the FOM income lost as a result of the points deduction."
The WMSC has also withheld a decision regarding next year's constructors' championship until the team's 2008 car can be scrutinised to see whether it uses Ferrari intellectual property.
"The WMSC will receive a full technical report on the 2008 McLaren car and will take a decision at the December 2007 meeting after what sanction, if any, will be imposed on the team for the 2008 season," the statement added.
Hamilton leads Alonso by three points in the drivers' standings with just four races - including Sunday's Belgian Grand Prix - remaining.
But the verdict means that McLaren's 23-point constructors' championship lead over Ferrari has been wiped, leaving the latter a full 57 points ahead of BMW Sauber.
The team had originally been found guilty of the 'fraudulent conduct' charge in July, after McLaren designer Mike Coughlan was found in possession of a 780-page dossier - given to him by Ferrari's former head of performance development, Nigel Stepney.
However, on that occasion, the FIA decided there was insufficient evidence that McLaren had actually used the information to its advantage.
FIA president Max Mosley then referred the case to a Court of Appeal, but after fresh evidence surfaced - purported to be an email exhange between Alonso and McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa - a second WMSC hearing was instigated.
A detailed breakdown of the FIA's new findings will be released by the governing body on Friday.
McLaren have yet to announce whether they will appeal against the verdict.