Turkish GP survives ruling

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The Independent Online

The Turkish Grand Prix organisers were yesterday handed the largest fine in motor sport history over an incident after the race last month, but the event was not dropped from the Formula One calendar as had been feared.

At a special meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris yesterday, the National Sporting Authority of Turkey (TOSFED) and the Organisers of the Turkish Grand Prix (MSO) were fined €5m (£2.66m). The punishment stemmed from the prize-giving at this year's event, at which the Turkish-Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat presented Ferrari's Felipe Massa with the winner's trophy. The Turkish-controlled area of northern Cyprus is not recognised as a separate country by the United Nations, resulting in the FIA expressing anger that its political neutrality had been compromised.

Facing charges of breaching FIA and Formula One rules, TOSFED and MSO were found guilty on all counts and have 30 days to pay the fine. The Turkish track, which staged its first grand prix last year, has been acclaimed by drivers and team principals, which is the likely reason why the council decided against dropping the event.

Lewis Hamilton has been forced to wait until today before having the chance to prove to McLaren that he is ready for a crack at Formula One. Hamilton had been due to test for the team at Silverstone yesterday, but track conditions and technical issues altered those plans. The 21-year-old, who recently won the GP2 series instead performed a shakedown lap, testing the car's systems and radio, at the damp Northamptonshire circuit.

Hamilton will now test alongside current driver Pedro de la Rosa today and tomorrow, with the duo effectively in a shoot-out for the remaining seat for 2007.

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