Hakkinen Austrian victory upheld

Mika Hakkinen's victory in the Austrian Grand Prix has been upheld by Formula One's governing body.

Mika Hakkinen's victory in the Austrian Grand Prix has been upheld by Formula One's governing body.

But it was not all good news for his team, McLaren Mercedes who were fined $50,000 and stripped of its points from the race because of a technicadal violation.

The black box from Hakkinen's McLaren car was seized by F1 officials after he won the July 16 race. The box, which controls vital computer software, was missing one of its plastic seals.

The FIA launched an investigation and summoned McLaren officials to the hearing in London. While ruling that the team failed to comply with technical regulations, the stewards said the violation was not serious enough to disqualify Hakkinen.

Instead, FIA imposed a $50,000 fine on the team and, citing the "exceptional circumstances of this case," stripped McLaren of the 10 points it won in Austria in the constructors' championship. Hakkinen's victory in Austria on July 16 brought him within eight points of Ferrari's German driver Michael Schumacher in the drivers' standings. Schumacher went out on the first lap.

McLaren was leading the constructors' championship with 98 points after the Austrian Grand Prix. The deduction of 10 points drops the team into second place with 88, behind Ferrari with 92.

With seven Grand Prix races left in the 17-race season, Schumacher has 56 points, followed by David Coulthard with 50 and Hakkinen with 48. Hakkinen is bidding to become the first driver since Argentine legend Juan Manuel Fangio in 1956 to win three straight driver's titles.

Comments