FIA president Max Mosley once said he didn't take on the role of being one of the most powerful men in international sport in the hope of winning a popularity contest.

Just as well, I would have thought, after Sunday's extraordinary ruling after the Belgian Grand Prix, which saw Lewis Hamilton stripped of victory and dropped to third place after he was given a 25sec penalty for allegedly gaining an unfair advantage for straight-lining a corner during his epic battle with Kimi Raikkonen's Ferrari.

At a stroke the FIA stewards opened all the old wounds within the F1 pit lane which were just beginning to heal following the governing body's lunatic decision to fine McLaren $100m for alleged industrial espionage against Ferrari last season.

It also came at a time when it seemed as though the world championship contest was settling into an excellent two-way battle between Hamilton and Felipe Massa, who inherited victory at Spa to narrow his deficit to just two points behind the McLaren driver.

Inconsistencies abound when it comes to the FIA stewards' judgements, but this is nothing new. It is a measure of the perception of FIA bias against McLaren that some jaws dropped after the European GP at Valencia when Ferrari got away with a modest 10,000 euro fine for waving Felipe Massa out into the path of Adrian Sutil's Force India after a refuelling stop. Massa survived without a penalty and most people thought that the stewards had reached the right conclusion on this occasion.