McLaren ‘hypocrites’, Ferrari lawyer blasts

Fri, 16 November 2007, 09:49

McLaren are “shameless hypocrites devoid of any integrity”, according to a lawyer representing Ferrari at the so-called cool-fuel appeal in London on Thursday.

Nigel Tozzi, who also acted for the Maranello based team in the recent espionage scandal, argued vigorously that Kimi Raikkonen should not be stripped of his title if up to four rival cars are excluded from the Brazilian GP classification for fuel temperature discrepancies.

Tozzi’s charge of hypocrisy follows McLaren figures’ consistent comments recently that the appeal is not a desperate off-track attempt to win the championship for British rookie Lewis Hamilton.

But McLaren lawyer Ian Mill had told the four-man FIA panel on Thursday: “The driver may be entirely innocent … but he has the benefit of the infringing car.”

In September, Mill argued precisely the reverse — that Hamilton and his teammate Fernando Alonso should be left in contention for the 2007 crown despite the allegation against McLaren of spying.

The Woking based team’s chief executive Martin Whitmarsh, present in London, defended McLaren’s lawyer.

“Any lawyer has to make the case, he has to be robust in pursuing a win,” he told the Daily Telegraph.

“Nevertheless, I asked Ian Mill to back off on this point. I believe he pursued the point without vigour but inevitably he has to make the case.

“Whilst this was the only appropriate argument from a legal point of view, it’s not our ultimate goal in respect of today’s hearing,” Whitmarsh said.

Ferrari’s Tozzi, however, slammed McLaren’s argument as “grubby manoeuvring by lawyers”.

BMW-Sauber’s lawyer Ian Meakin joined the tirade, accusing McLaren of waging “naked opportunism” in wanting the Swiss team and Williams’ runners excluded for the breach.

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