FIA `was correct' says Elf

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The Independent Online

Elf, the French fuel supplier, yesterday joined Williams and Benetton in admitting the sport's ruling body was correct to declare that fuel used by them in Brazil was irregular.

The statements come on the eve of the appeal at the Paris headquarters of the International Motor Racing Federation (FIA), at which neither Elf nor the teams are expected to be successful in overturning the heavy punishments. They may, however, plead mitigating circumstances in an effort to have the punishments reduced.

Elf confirmed the problem at the Brazilian Grand Prix arose because of a "difference in the sampling procedures", and acknowledged that the FIA's equipment and procedures were correct, despite their criticism of them at the time of the controversy.

Michael Schumacher of Benetton and David Coulthard of Williams were disqualifed after finishing first and second respectively in Brazil. Both were also fined $30,000 (£19,000) for using an irregular fuel during practice and qualifying.