Formula One chief says Ferrari disqualification was 'nonsense'

Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone says the decision to disqualify the Ferrari drivers from Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix was 'nonsense.'

Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone says the decision to disqualify the Ferrari drivers from Sunday's Malaysian Grand Prix was 'nonsense.'

'It is bad for the sport,' said Ecclestone, president of Formula One Administration and vice president of motor racing's world governing body FIA. 'The public wants to see a great finish to a great championship. It is a shame if the world championship could be decided by someone quite junior who has made a mistake in the factory.'

Ferrari drivers Eddie Irvine and Michael Schumacher finished 1-2 in Sunday's race. But a few hours later they were disqualified because their cars were fitted with oversized aerodynamic deflectors.

McLaren's Mikka Hakkinen, who finished third, was declared the winner. The decision handed the Finnish driver the season's world championship, giving him an unbeatable 12 point lead with one race remaining, the Japanese Grand Prix on Oct. 31.

Ferrari had lodged an appeal, stressing that the deflectors did not give the cars any advantage in performance.A FIA appeals panel will meet in Paris on Friday to hear the case. A ruling is expected to be issued Saturday.If Ferrari wins its appeal, Irvine would regain a four-point lead in the drivers' standings.

Ecclestone said FIA's technical rules and regulations were too tight.

'Even if there was a little advantage, it would not have been enough for these two (Ferrari drivers) to have won the way they did,' he said.

Irvine, meanwhile, said the punishment did not fit the crime.

'It seems impossible to me to lose a world championship over a story like this,' he said in his column in the Daily Express. 'Everybody in Formula One knows that things like these give you little or no advantage at all. It was an oversight.'

'I hope the judges decide that the punishment was too heavy,' he added. 'I'm convinced that, aside from the facts of what happened, the final decision will take account of people's good faith.'

But the McLaren team said rules are rules and Ferrari should not benefit from leniency just because the disqualification came at the end of the season and decided the world championship.

'While we understand the sympathy and requests for leniency that some people have expressed, the fact that the outcome of the Malaysian Grand Prix can decide this year's world championship is irrelevant,' McLaren said in a statement.

'The more important the outcome of a race, the more important it is that the rules are applied consistently and fairly in accordance with the procedures which have gbeen strictly adhered to in the past.'

McLaren pointed out that in 1996 Johnny Herbert and the Sauber team were disqualified from the French Grand Prix when the front deflectors were found to infringe the rules. And Hakkinen lost his third place at the 1997 Belgian Grand Prix because of a fuel irregularity.

Hakkinen issued a statement to clarify his widely-quoted remark that he believed Ferrari had won the race 'fair and square.' Hakkinen said he made that comment before learning of Ferrariÿs disqualification and not after.

Ferrari's appeal could rest on whether the team can convince FIA to invoke its clause on 'exceptional circumstances.'In a precedent in 1995, David Coulthard, then driving for Williams, and Schumacher, then with Benetton, were found to have been using illegal fuel during the Brazilian Grand Prix. Both drivers and cars were disqualified.

An appeals court determined there was an error rather than a deliberate attempt to cheat and reinstated the points won by Schumacher, who finished first, and Coulthard, who was second. But the teams did not regain their constructors' championship points.

A year later, FIA changed its rules to specify that such a decision could be used only in 'exceptional circumstances.'

Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Sport
There were mass celebrations across Argentina as the country's national team reached their first World Cup final for 24 years
transfersOne of the men to suffer cardiac arrest was 16 years old
Life and Style
lifeHere's one answer to an inquisitive Reddit user's question
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
peopleDave Legeno, the actor who played werewolf Fenrir Greyback in the Harry Potter films, has died
News
Detail of the dress made entirely of loom bands
news
Life and Style
beauty
Arts and Entertainment
Armando Iannucci, the creator of 'The Thick of It' says he has
tvArmando Iannucci to concentrate on US show Veep
Sport
German supporters (left) and Argentina fans
world cup 2014Final gives England fans a choice between to old enemies
Arts and Entertainment
A still from the worldwide Dawn of the Planet of the Apes trailer debut
film
News
peopleMario Balotelli poses with 'shotgun' in controversial Instagram pic
News
A mugshot of Ian Watkins released by South Wales Police following his guilty pleas
peopleBandmates open up about abuse
Sport
Basketball superstar LeBron James gets into his stride for the Cleveland Cavaliers
sportNBA superstar announces decision to return to Cleveland Cavaliers
Sport
Javier Mascherano of Argentina tackles Arjen Robben of the Netherlands as he attempts a shot
world cup 2014
Arts and Entertainment
The successful ITV drama Broadchurch starring David Tenant and Olivia Coleman came to an end tonight
tv
Sport
Four ski officials in Slovenia have been suspended following allegations of results rigging
sportFour Slovenian officials suspended after allegations they helped violinist get slalom place
News
14 March 2011: George Clooney testifies before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee during a hearing titled 'Sudan and South Sudan: Independence and Insecurity.' Clooney is co-founder of the Satellite Sentinel Project which uses private satellites to collect evidence of crimes against civilian populations in Sudan
people
Arts and Entertainment
Balaban is indirectly responsible for the existence of Downton Abbey, having first discovered Julian Fellowes' talents as a screenwriter
tvCast members told to lose weight after snacking on set
Life and Style
More than half of young adults have engaged in 'unwanted but consensual sexting with a committed partner,' according to research
tech
Life and Style
A binge is classed as four or more alcoholic drinks for women and five or more for men, consumed over a roughly two-hour period
tech
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

A writer spends a night on the streets

Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

UK's railways are entering a new golden age

New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

Why did we stop eating whelks?

Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
10 best women's sunglasses

In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

The German people demand an end to the fighting
New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
Can scientists save the world's sea life from

Can scientists save our sea life?

By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

Richard III review

Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice