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APRIL 10, 2000

Coulthard loses Brazil appeal

THE FIA International Court of Appeal rejected McLaren's appeal against the disqualification of David Coulthard from the BrazilianÊGrandÊPrix. The decision was not greeted with much surprise in the F1 paddock. Coulthard had finished second behind Michael Schumacher's Ferrari but was disqualified after technical checks revealed that one side of the McLaren's front wing was two millimeters too low. The team argued that the track was very bumpy and that this caused the wing to be damaged. The rejection of the argument means that McLaren has scored no points in the first two races of the year.

The team expressed its disappointment at the decision and made the point that the car had started the race in legal trim and was only illegal because of "substantial damage" to the underside of the car which caused the front wing endplate to move on its axis, which resulted in one section being lower than the legal limit. The team said that the illegality was beyond their control but the FIA argument was that the team could have avoided problems by running the car at a higher ride-height.

FIA President Max Mosley said in Imola that the fact that there were bumps at Interlagos was not in itself an issue. "In the tradition of road racing there is no reason why a track should not be bumpy," he said. "Indeed there is nothing to prevent us putting a sleeping policeman at each end of the pitlane. The teams know that there are bumpy tracks on the championship schedule and they should set up their cars to suit the conditions."