Mixed reaction in press to McLaren’s punishment

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Depending on which newspaper you pick up this morning you might feel that justice has been done in the F1 espionage hearing, or that McLaren have been unfairly treated by an institution that is biased against them.

One even suggests that Lewis Hamilton may end up at Prodrive next year, if McLaren’s appeal leads to an even tougher verdict against them being handed down.

Here’s what the British papers had to say.

Writing in The Guardian, Richard Williams reckons the FIA have gone out of their way to avoid punishing Lewis Hamilton while giving McLaren the harshest punishment it can. He also suggests that McLaren have something to learn from the outcome:

Dennis is proud of the company’s “matrix” management, which replaced the conventional pyramid system of managerial responsibilities. But there must have been something wrong with the structure if the illegalities seemingly instigated by Mike Coughlan, a senior figure on the technical side, could take place without the knowledge of the top man. Dennis should be asking himself if his managerial instincts are as sharp as they once were.

Ed Gorman in The Times is more forthright, insisting the time has come to accept that McLaren were cheating, regardless of what new proof has actually come to light (which, at the time of writing, has still not been published by the FIA):

At some point the arguments about moral equivalence, about the history of the key players, about whether other teams could be said to be in exactly the same position as McLaren, about the rights and wrongs of so-called ?????ǣwhistleblowers??????, about whether Coughlan was a ?????ǣlone wolf?????? acting on his own (as Dennis claimed), have to be set aside and cheating has to be recognised for what it is.

But The Independent takes an aggressive line against the FIA’s verdict. David Tremayne reckons the roots of the decision are in ax Mosley’s dislike of Ron Dennis, and claims that the rest of the paddock are unhappy with Ferrari’s ‘win at all costs’ approach:

Stripping McLaren of all of their world championship points is excessively harsh, given that the period in which their car may or may not have benefited from the Ferrari information effectively ran from March to August… And that $100m fine? It is unprecedented and Draconian, and clearly designed to grab world headlines. Perhaps it was just the late hour at which the official statement was written, perhaps it was genuine obfuscation, but the net effect is that the day after the decision, all the world will remember is a massive fine, whether or not that is what McLaren will ever actually pay.

Lastly The Daily Telegraph asks whether the consequence of this could see Lewis Hamilton in a Prodrive-run McLaren chassis next year…

What will happen in 2008, if the worst expectations of McLaren are realised and a subsequent meeting of the World Motorsport Council bans them from competition in 2008? Will Hamilton and Alonso be left kicking their heels on a ruinously expensive sabbatical?

‘Analysis’ in the other papers doesn’t go much beyond ‘ooh, that’s a lot of money’ and ‘at least Our Lewis is alright’.

Photo: DaimlerChrysler

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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10 comments on “Mixed reaction in press to McLaren’s punishment”

  1. The “at least Our Lewis” is alright aspect of the press reporting in the most infuriating aspect of it all.

  2. bernie's nemesis
    14th September 2007, 11:47

    Disgusting. Shame on you Max Moseley.

    It looks like the FIA have wanted to appease Ferrari (as always), but are terrified at loosing their audience in the most exciting season in a few years, and possible fairy tale ending, so have not punished the drivers.

    It appears, after the cars where examined, that no Ferrari secrets have been used. So why the Ferrari appeal. If they have disgruntled employees, thats something on their plate, not Mclarens.

    This is something that happens continually in F1, and the punishment does not fit the’crime’.
    Will everybody now ask for points to be taken from Ferrari for the illegal floor run in Australia.

    The most disturbing part of this is the way that Ferrari paint themselves whiter than white and believe themselves to be 50% of F1. Dirty cheats.

    Ron, keep on supporting your drivers, and letting them race each other, thats what racing fans want to see, not the choreography of prancing horses.

  3. With Alonso’s absence from yesterday’s farce and McLarens ‘conviction’, does this now give the Spaniard the green light to exit the team?? Wouldn’t be surprised to see him turn up at Ferrari at this rate.

  4. Funny you should say that AndyJ – the most recent mailout from the PopBitch celeb gossip messageboard “reveals” that Alonso will jump ship to Renault next year and his seat will be taken by none other than Jenson Button(!)

  5. An Englishman in a Ferrari! Yeh, that’s always a marriage made in heaven……

  6. AndyJ – I meant that Alonso’s McLaren seat would (supposedly) be taken by Button.

  7. I have been watching F1 for more than 35 years and it’s never been any different “What Ferrari what, Ferrari get”. Max Mosley also has never been anything other that a Ferrari puppet for the 4 terms he has been head of the FIA. The FIA must be stupid to think that if a designer leaves team A , goes to team B and does not tell them what team A is up to.

    Just think if this was football can you imaging what the crowd would be shouting come the match on Saturday. Somehow I don’t think people at this weekend GP will be shouting that the ref is a ****er, but it would be nice to hear.

  8. It’s a farse.
    After illicitly spying for months and collecting information to confer a dishonest and fraudolent sporting advantage upon McLaren……MCLaren has been just punished with a fine and banned from constructors cahmpionship and a McLaren can still win the drivers Championship – the only one which counts!! Congratulation Mr. Mosley and Mr. Eccleston. They tried to save McLaren avoiding the real punishment McLaren deserved but the victory of Alonso or Hamilton will have no sense and sporting value.

  9. I would not say it is farce, but it definitely is an irony, that a guy who was deeply involved in all this can still end up being a world champion. but, that happens in other legal cases, and quite often. prosecutors often offer deals – immunity in exchange for information. but… McLaren can still sack him, right ?

    what I can’t see is Mr.Alonso in McLaren next year, I can’t even see Mr. de la Rosa in neither McLaren, or Prodrive (if it will be McLaren “B” team). Mr. Alonso should have no problems to get out of his contract now, if I were Dennis, I would have fired him yesterday the moment the FIA letter came out. unless … well unless Dennis has known much about all the spy stuff more than he admits…

    I still did not fully digest the whole FIA explanation, but looks to me, the best next step for McLaren is to accept the punishment and go on

  10. Reliable info. Thanks a bunch!

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