Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

Penalty severe and inappropriate, say McLaren - updated 05 Aug 2007

Ron Dennis (GBR) McLaren Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 4 August 2007

McLaren have released a statement following the Hungarian Grand Prix stewards’ decision to demote Fernando Alonso on the grid and to dock the team of any constructors’ points they may earn in Sunday’s race.

Alonso was given a five-place grid penalty for impeding team mate Lewis Hamilton - who inherits Alonso’s pole position as a result - during a qualifying pit stop.

The world championship leaders informed the stewards that they intend to appeal the decision with regards to the points, though team boss Ron Dennis revealed after the race that the team may yet decide not to pursue the matter further. A decision will be made once McLaren have returned to their factory in the UK.

McLaren’s statement in full:

"Budapest, Hungary, Sunday 5th August 2007: The process of managing two such exceptional talents as Fernando and Lewis is made more challenging by having a race winning car.

"Every effort was made yesterday by the team to maintain our policy of equality; however in the heat of the battle there are occasions when the competitive nature of drivers sees them deviate from the agreed procedures.

"During this intense and frenetic period of qualifying, decisions are necessarily made in seconds to enable the drivers and the team to position their cars on the track at the optimal moment.

"We agree with the stewards, that when the team decided to hold Fernando for 20 seconds there were four cars on the circuit. However, we do not understand the relevance of this observation as the team needed to estimate where all the remaining cars would be in the final minutes of the session. Similarly the team does not agree with the statement of the stewards that the 20 second hold caused Lewis to be impeded. Tensions were undeniably high and the problem at Fernando’s first stop; the desire to enter a clear track and concerns expressed following the fitting of used tyres undoubtedly contributed to the delay in Fernando’s ultimate departure.

"We do not believe that the findings of the stewards and the severe penalty imposed on the team are appropriate, and that our strenuous efforts to maintain the spirit of fair play and equality within the team have been misunderstood.

"We are, however, now only hours away from an important race and are focusing all our efforts on achieving the best possible result for the drivers."