AUGUST 3, 1998
McLaren loses Silverstone appeal
THE FIA International Court of Appeal has rejected McLaren's appeal resulting from the British GP at Silverstone and so Michael Schumacher is confirmed as the winner, despite not being punished for overtaking Alexander Wurz under a yellow flag.
McLaren had argued that the Ferrari driver should be punished for breaking the rules and that Mika Hakkinen ought to be declared the winner of the race as he finished 22secs behind Michael. The case was that the Ferrari driver should have been given a 10-second stop-go penalty which, with deceleration and acceleration would have penalized him around 25secs.
It was never very likely that the FIA would overturn the result - one cannot blame the Ferrari team for mistakes made by the stewards - but to let Schumacher off without a punishment was a less-than-perfect solution for the credibility of the governing body, particularly given the fact that there have been several other decisions this year which have seemed to favour Ferrari over McLaren. This has created suspicion in the F1 paddock that the FIA is favouring Ferrari to stop McLaren running away with the World Championship.
The International Court of Appeal was helped by the fact that the race stewards admitted that they had made mistakes in applying the penalty. This gave the judges little alternative but to let Schumacher get away with the infraction.
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