SEPTEMBER 8, 1997
Hakkinen loses Spa points
THE FIA International Court of Appeal last week ruled that the fuel in Mika Hakkinen's McLaren-Mercedes in qualifying for the recent Belgian Grand Prix was illegal and that he should be deprived of his third place finish as a result. The team has also been fined $50,000 for the fuel irregularity, although the court concluded that McLaren and Mobil had acted in good faith and that the problem was "due to a mistake and was unintentional."
The decision meant that Jacques Villeneuve gained an extra World Championship point, moving from sixth to fifth in the classification, while Williams gained another point thanks to Heinz-Harald Frentzen being moved up to third. Benetton's Gerhard Berger also gained a point for sixth position.
In a statement the team said that it "accepted that a minor analytical difference existed" but said that "the complex nature of the fuels used in F1 and the difficulty in achieving consistent analysis makes the interpretation of the results an extremely complex matter."
The team added that it had concluded that the difference between the fuel used in qualifying at Spa and the one submitted to the FIA was "a consequence of aging and/or minor contamination of a small quantity of the fuel".
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