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 F1,, Raikonnen wins.. Or does he?

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Danny_Bantam
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PostSubject: F1,, Raikonnen wins.. Or does he?   Mon Oct 22, 2007 2:28 am

Kimi Raikkonen's world title has been thrown into doubt following an inquiry into the cars of BMW Sauber and Williams at the Brazilian Grand Prix.
Race stewards are investigating alleged irregularites with the cars' fuel.

Williams's Nico Rosberg was fourth in the race, followed by BMW Sauber's Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld.

If they were disqualified, McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton would be promoted to fourth, giving him enough points to displace Raikkonen as world champion.


Report: Radio 5live's David Croft

The 22-year-old Englishman went into the race leading the title chase, but finished only seventh after a series of problems.

He dropped down to eighth on the first lap after running off the road trying to pass team-mate Fernando Alonso.

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And then on lap eight he dropped to the tail of the field when his gearbox slipped into neutral, costing him 40 seconds before it started to work again.

Raikkonen led home team-mate Felipe Massa in a Ferrari one-two to clinch the title by one point from Hamilton.

Alonso finished on the same points as Hamilton, but the Spaniard was classified as third on countback.

The problem that could yet see Hamilton installed as the first man to win the title in his first season is a fuel temperature irregularity on the Williams and BMW Sauber cars.

A statement from the sport's governing body, the FIA, said the fuel in the cars was "more than [the permitted] 10 degrees below the ambient temperature".

The statement said Heidfeld's fuel was 13C lower than ambient at his first stop and 12C lower at his second.

Kubica's varied by 14C, 13C and 13C at his three stops, while Rosberg's was 13C and 12C out at his two stops.

Filling the car with cooler fuel can give a performance advantage.

Cooler fuel is denser, so either it can mean it takes slightly less time to refuel the car or marginally more can be added in the same time.

And it would give a slight power advantage for about three laps before it returned to ambient temperature out on the track.

Excluding the cars would risk turning one of the most exciting championship finales in F1 history into a farce.

But if the cars are found to have run fuel below the legal temperature, the stewards might feel obliged to disqualify them, even though the advantage conferred would almost certainly have had no bearing on the title race.

The total advantage for each car over the race distance was almost certainly no more than a second.

However, there is a precedent that could be used by race stewards not to exclude them.

In 1995, the Benetton-Renault of Michael Schumacher and the Williams-Renault of David Coulthard were initially disqualified from first and second places in the Brazilian Grand Prix because their fuel did not conform to samples approved by the FIA.

But a week later the FIA reinstated the drivers' points but docked the teams their constructors' points.

In that case, though, no advantage was gained by the irregularity.

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