Coulthard F1 appeal thrown out

David Coulthard has lost his appeal against his disqualification from the Brazilian Grand Prix, leaving the McLaren team without a point after the first two races of the Formula One season.

The International Automobile Federation (FIA) convened its International Court of Appeal on Monday to hear McLaren's protest over Coulthard's disqualification from second place in the March 26 Brazilian Grand Prix.

Coulthard placed second behind Ferrari's Michael Schumacher but was disqualified when stewards ruled the front wing of his car was two millimeters (.08 inch) out of tolerance.

Coulthard argued before the panel that the track was "very bumpy in nature" and that "unusual circumstances" contributed to his car being out of regulation. He added that the car was clearly in regulation at the beginning of the race.

But the five-man panel rejected his argument.

In a statement, FIA said "that the appellant's argument concerning the layout and profile of the circuit is unfounded since all the competitors - including the appellant - had been subjected to the rigors of the circuit in question from the first practice session onwards."

Citing FIA rules, the statement said "it is the duty of each competitor to prove that his car complies with the regulations in their entirety at all times during an event."

In a similar case five months ago, the same FIA appeal panel reinstated Ferrari's 1-2 finish in the Malaysian Grand Prix after stewards ruled aerodynamic deflectors were out of compliance by one centimeter (3/8 inch).

At the time, McLaren's managing director Ron Dennis harshly criticized the reversal and said the FIA had two standards - one for Ferrari and one for all other teams.

McLaren reacted with restraint this time.

"Obviously today's result isn't what I had hoped for," Coulthard said. "But it's Imola this weekend and I'm looking forward to getting into the rhythm at one of my favorite tracks - and that is what I'm now concentrating one."

In a statement, McLaren said the team was "disappointed" and maintained the bumpy track had led to a "minor discrepancy ... beyond the team's control."

The ruling left McLaren, F1's top team the last two seasons, without a point in either the drivers' or constructors' standings after two races.

The decision also meant that Jenson Button of Williams retained his sixth place finish in Brazil, making the 20-yar-old Briton the youngest driver in Formula One history to win a point.

Ferrari's Michael Schumacher won the opening two races and leads the drivers' standings with 20 points. Ferrari tops the constructors' standings with 26 points.

The F1 season continues with the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola in Italy this Sunday.

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