Irvine favourite to win F1 title
LONDON, Oct 23 ( - A London bookmakers made Eddie Irvine 8/15 favourite
to win the Formula One title on Saturday, leaving one British woman on
course for a 50,000 pound ($83,390) payout. Bookmakers William Hill said
the woman had placed her first ever bet of 10,000 pounds ($16,680) on the
Ferrari driver at odds of 4/1 before last weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix.
McLaren's Finnish driver Mika Hakkinen, who provisionally claimed the title
on Sunday after Irvine won the race in Malaysia only for his Ferrari to
fail a technical inspection, was given odds of 11/8. Irvine was reinstated
on Saturday as race winner in Malaysia after an appeal hearing in Paris.
The Northern Irishman leads Hakkinen by four points with just the Japanese
Grand Prix remaining on October 31.
McLaren not surprised by Ferrari ruling
LONDON, Oct 23 - McLaren boss Ron Dennis said he was neither surprised
nor ``hugely upset'' after rivals Ferrari and Eddie Irvine returned to
the top of the Formula One standings at his team's expense on Saturday.
Dennis also said the International Automobile Federation (FIA) had, in
upholding Ferrari's appeal against disqualification from the Malaysian
Grand Prix, cast doubt on the competence of their own equipment and officials.
``Are we disappointed? No. Are we surprised? Not really,'' he told a news
conference at his team's Woking headquarters in southern England. ``We
think the push now for our sport has inevitably become quite commercial,
everybody wants to have an exciting race in Japan but I think that the
price we paid for that one race is too great.'' McLaren made clear in a
later statement that they had hoped for a different outcome: ``In this
case, we felt, along with many motor sport experts, that there was no room
for interpretation,'' it said.
The outcome of the FIA appeal hearing in Paris reopened title races
otherwise claimed by McLaren and their Finnish driver Mika Hakkinen for
a second successive season. There is one round remaining, in Japan on October
31 and Eddie Irvine, who led a Ferrari one-two finish in Malaysia, now
leads the standings by four points. His team are also four points ahead
in the constructors' standings. ``A way has been found, and if we were
in a similar situation we would be looking for similar ways, to provide
a reason for the appeal to be upheld,'' said Dennis. ``We're not hugely
upset about the decision.''
``Obviously there's been a reassessment of the measuring process``A
piece of equipment that's cost many millions of dollars not only to have
made but also to move around the world, which has been used in the past...to
verify the legality of a car has suddenly been brought into question as
has the competence of the FIA's own people,'' he added. Ferrari were excluded
from the Malaysian Grand Prix after the barge boards -- fitted to improve
air flow and stability -- were found to be one centimetre too short when
the cars were inspected after the race won by Irvine.
However FIA president Max Mosley said Ferrari had proved the offending
boards were within a five millimetre tolerance allowed by regulations,
although that could not be confirmed at the time of the race. ``Nobody
in Malaysia had equipment sufficiently accurate to prove what the court
saw here in Paris yesterday,'' Mosley said. ``Ferrari accepted the measurements
as they were presented in Malaysia as they could not prove there that the
turning vane was not illegal.'' The FIA said in a later statement that
``the 10 millimetre dimension referred to in the technical delegate's report
(in Malaysia) resulted from a method of measurement which was not necessarily
in strict conformity with the regulations.
``The measuring equipment available to the FIA scrutineers at the Malaysian
Grand Prix was not sufficiently accurate to call into question Ferrari's
statement that the turning vane was indeed properly attached to the car.''
Dennis said that the logical conclusion was that ``the FIA individuals
who were part of this process have not demonstrated competence, that the
equipment that they have used for several years and that was updated two
years ago is suddenly brought into question on accuracy.'' This, he implied,
was unlikely. ``It may interest some people to know that this piece of
equipment is actually set up using lasers,'' he said. ``So I think even
the most untechnical person can appreciate that if you are using lasers
to establish the accuracy of a piece of equipment then it falls well within
the capability of that equipment to measure within a millimetre.'' Dennis
said he was convinced that Ferrari had made a mistake but accused them
of being ``slightly hypocritical to say that there is no performance influence
because effectively it is a very aerodynamically critical area on the car.''