Todt: McLaren penalty was "soft"


Ferrari boss Jean Todt believes, like FIA President Max Mosley, that McLaren escaped Thursday's WMSC hearing lightly, having received a "soft" penalty.

"It's very difficult to say we are happy, or we are unhappy," he said last night. "Something which was very important after the hearing of 26th of July, if you are guilty you must be penalised," he added, referring to the original hearing, when McLaren was found guilt of having been in possession of secret Ferrari documents, but escaped punishment.

"Our main competitor has been recognised, after new evidence, as guilty, and has been penalised with a soft penalisation, losing points for the Manufacturers' Championship. If you get deeply into all this sad story, you realise that it's a very soft sentence, which we respect."

Like the rest of us, Ferrari is waiting to see whether McLaren will appeal the WMSC's decision, for if it does there is every likelihood that the penalty could be increased, even to the point of excluding Hamilton and Alonso from the Drivers' Championship.

"In a tribunal appeal, you have only lawyers," he said. "If you take the legal case... but I cannot say what will be the result of the appeal, if there will be an appeal. But if you ask me, what they will do, personally I wish they will do. I think the result should be different. But again, it's a personal feeling.

"I think it will be very important to see if they make an appeal or not, to see if they make the appeal or if they don't make the appeal. Because if we would have the chance of them doing the appeal, I think it will change quite a lot on the drivers' situation. So then, probably the appeal will be judged before the Japanese Grand Prix and we may be facing a completely different situation. Before we know about the appeal, it's not something I'm going to comment on further."

When asked if he would pursue the matter, in the hope of making things worse for McLaren, Todt said: "No. As I said, it's not a question... I was asked this question one week ago. It's not a menu: 'we like, we don't like'. We feel it's a soft penalty considering the whole story but we as Ferrari are not going...

"What was very important for us, as I mentioned before, is that if you are guilty, you must have a penalisation, so they were guilty, they had a penalisation. Now you can always decide enough, not enough. We feel it's soft...

"Yesterday the president of the FIA said that he confirmed that it was soft but we know in this business you have a lot of things to be taken into consideration and I can understand that. It's much better to have four races, including this one, with all the drivers and all that, and I'm not arguing about that, but lots of things were taken into consideration in order to favour more the championship rather than this single bad case."

The Frenchman also revealed that the civil cases will continue

"The civil case in England, the penal case in Italy, it has nothing to do with the FIA and it's not of our responsibility," he said. "In Italy, it's up to the judges who have the matter to cover and in England, we...

"I know that our President dedicated this success to our supporter who had the idea of informing us about those stolen documents. Fortunately we had somebody, loyal and fair, who helped us in that and we don't have any reason to stop any legal action."

Asked if he felt the saga had been damaging to F1, he replied: "It is not good for F1. When you hear all of those problems in cycling, it is not good for the sport. What is very important to punish. When things are wrong you must answer properly to try and make sure it doesn't happen again. The sport, the competition, and all that is fantastic. But you must know where to put the limit. We all want to win, we all want to go to the limit, but it is very important not to overpass the limit."

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Published: 17/09/2007
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