Bernie Ecclestone and Max Mosley couldn’t have scripted a better outcome to the Formula One season, as Kimi Raikkonen won the Brazilian grand prix and took the world driver’s championship by one point over McLaren driver Lewis Hamilton. And, he did it on the racetrack, leaving McLaren spluttering about an appeal of the ruling by the stewards at the race against disqualifying or penalizing the BMW-Sauber and Williams teams for supposedly having fuel which was too cold.
The result must have been gratifying to Ecclestone and Mosley.
It avoided the controversy which would have resulted had Fernando Alonso won the championship. Alonso admitted that he was involved in using information stolen from Ferrari, but he avoided sanctions by ratting on his employer. Having a rat as F1 champion would not have been a public relations coup.
It avoided the controversy which would have resulted had Raikkonen not won the championship. With McLaren nailed for cheating in a way that may have affected the outcome of races, had a McLaren driver beaten Raikkonen for the championship, the question would always have remained whether Raikkonen would have won in a fair fight.
It has made the FIA look wise and reasonable. Within an hour after the steward’s decision, McLaren announced it was going to appeal. Of three readings taken, one put the fuel temperature below the permitted level on the BMW and Williams cars. If a triviality like that can justify an appeal, then McLaren has certainly established that cheating on an organizational scale at a level calculated to give them an advantage justifies the sanctions that the FIA imposed on the team.
So, Raikkonen’s win buries the controversies of this season. Ferrari’s dominance at the end of the season suggests that McLaren’s earlier triumphs may just have been aided by illicit information. Raikonnen’s championship leaves Alonso to gain headlines only as someone looking for a new place to work, and Lewis Hamilton remains a star to shine yet another season.
Above all, the Formula One driver’s championship was decided where it ought to be decided – on the racetrack.