Lewis Hamilton’s world title dream remained intact despite McLaren being heavily punished by the World Motor Sport Council for their role in the Formula One spy scandal.
Despite the protestations of team principal Ron Dennis, McLaren were stripped of all their constructors’ points for the season and handed a FIA record fine of 100million US dollars (£49.2million).
McLaren were found guilty of fraudulent conduct at the initial hearing in July, namely being in possession of a confidential 780-page document belonging to Ferrari.
And new evidence, based around emails between the McLaren drivers, led to the sanction, although Hamilton and his team-mate Fernando Alonso avoided any sanction.
Dennis acknowledged the existence of the emails but maintained that no advantage had been gained.
“The evidence was primarily email traffic between our drivers, and in one instance, Mike Coughlan,” confirmed Dennis. Coughlan was suspended as the team’s chief designer after being found with the documents.
“Much has been made in the press and at the hearing of emails and text messages to and from our drivers.
“The WMSC received statements from Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Pedro de la Rosa stating categorically no Ferrari information had been used by McLaren, and that no confidential data had been passed to the team.
“Of course, the team had no knowledge of this email traffic at any stage.
“We have never denied that the information from Ferrari was in the personal possession of one of our employees at his home.
“The issue is: was this information used by McLaren? This is not the case and has not been proven today.
“I do not accept that we deserve to be penalised or our reputation damaged in this way.”