Brit could benefit from decision to strip BMW and Williams of points
22 October 2007

There’s a sliver of hope this morning that Lewis Hamilton will yet be named F1 World Champion, despite having suffered mechanical problems in the Brazilian GP yesterday and finishing a disappointing seventh.Hamilton's McLaren team are appealing against a steward’s decision not to disqualify Williams and BMW from the race for alleged fuel irregularities.It’s a farcical end to a season dominated by dispute, but if McLaren’s appeal is successful Hamilton will be bumped up Sunday’s Interlagos finishing order from seventh to fourth, earning him enough points to be crowned world champion.Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen has already been confirmed as champion twice, once immediately after Sunday’s race and then again in the evening after a three-hour stewards’ inquiry decided not to punish BMW or Williams.Now he will have to wait even longer, pending McLaren’s appeal, which hinges on the fuel in the BMWs being colder than regulations allow, affording them a slight performance advantage. An enquiry immediately after the race ruled that the benefit BMW gained was not enough to warrant disqualification, but former champion Damon Hill, among others, believes the FIA is applying double standards against McLaren. “I can see how a couple of degrees fuel temperature can be regarded as being so negligible that it wouldn't make any difference,” said Hill, “but we're talking about such tiny differences all the time in Formula One, there has to be a line where you're one side or the other.”Whatever the result of this appeal – and we must admit it seems unlikely that McLaren will get the title decision overturned – it crowns a dramatic, controversial F1 championship which has been decided as much by FIA committees as it has racing. As the popularity of Formula One makes a resurgence, let’s hope this final dispute does no more to damage the sport's credibility.

Will Powell

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