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McLaren goes before the court

THE West McLaren Mercedes team will go before the FIA Court of Appeal this week in Paris to argue that David Coulthard's second-placed McLaren-Mercedes should be reinstated in the results of the Brazilian GP. The car was excluded from the race after one of its front wing was found to be 7mm lower than it should have been. The accepted tolerance for a front wing is 5mm, so the McLaren was actually only illegal by 2mm.

It is going to be hard for the FIA to argue that this difference had any effect on performance and McLaren's defence that the wing was damaged by the bumpy Interlagos circuit is going to be a strong argument. McLaren is also expected to argue that the measurements made were not accurate as in October last year Ferrari was reinstated into the results of the Malaysian GP when the Court of Appeal ruled that a bargeboard was not illegal despite being measured to be 10mm too big. The Court of Appeal ruled that the FIA Technical Delegate was "not necessarily in strict conformity with the regulations" and that the measuring equipment available in Malaysia "was not sufficiently accurate".

If the McLaren appeal is rejected Ferrari will have a 20 point advantage over McLaren in the Constructors' World Championship.

Ferrari's technical director Ross Brawn last week warned that McLaren is still a force to be reckoned with in the races ahead. "McLaren won't be down for long," he said "We mustn't underestimate them. Michael's victory in Brazil was a great result for us, but we still have to improve our qualifying. We have got a good car, but we need to make better use of it. I don't think we are faster yet, but with different tactics we can beat them."

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