Ecclestone calls for draconian punishment for McLaren

30/05/2007
NEWS STORY

Formula One supremo Bernie Ecclestone has called on the powers that be (himself?) to punish McLaren severely should the Woking team be adjudged to have 'fixed' the outcome of Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix.

Unbelievably, Ecclestone has said that if found guilty, the British team should be fined more that Ferrari, which was fined $1m for its blatant fixing of the result of the 2002 Austrian Grand Prix, when, yards from the finish, race leader Rubens Barrichello was ordered to slow and allow teammate Michael Schumacher to take the win. Race fans at the track, and those watching on TV, were outraged at the cynicism of the manoeuvre, which backfired on the team and brought the sport into disrepute.

"I don't know what the team orders are or were," Ecclestone told The Daily Mail. "One thing is for sure: if there were team orders which relate to the position of the two drivers - if somebody is told to move over or hold their position - it is against all the sporting regulations we have.

"If there were orders," he continued, "they would be getting off lightly if they get the same sort of fine as Ferrari. They could be excluded from the championship or they could have points deducted. A fine for McLaren, with its money, would not have the same effect as docking points."

In a move which is sure to send shockwaves through the sport, Ecclestone believes McLaren's fine should exceed that levied against the organizers of last year's Turkish Grand Prix, when the winners' trophy was handed out by the head of Turkish Cypriots, a move which brought the FIA into disrepute.

"If you think of that poor guy who went on the podium in Istanbul last year, that was nothing to do with any regulations," said Ecclestone, a comment which is sure to have political ramifications. "This would be breaking the regulations. It's more serious and that should be reflected."

The ironic thing is, that the entire affair, which many see as being fuelled by the British media, could backfire not only on McLaren but its drivers, though Ecclestone hopes this is not the case.

"If there were instructions, it wouldn't be the drivers' fault," he said. "If I'm driving for you and you tell me to stay where I am and not overtake the guy in front, what can I do? "It would be those who give the orders who should receive the punishment."

All in all, another sad day for Formula One and further proof, as though it were needed, that the lunatics have taken control of the asylum.

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Published: 30/05/2007
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