FIA president Max Mosley has rubbished claims that there is an agenda working to make success harder for McLaren, in the wake of Lewis Hamilton losing victory in last weekend's Belgian Grand Prix.
Speaking on his first visit to a Formula One event since the resolution of the court case resulting from a tabloid expose into his private life, Mosley denied that there was any attempt to direct this year's world titles to Ferrari, following suggestions that the sport was being fixed as a hangover from last year's espionage scandal involving the top two teams.
Hamilton crossed the line first at Spa-Francorchamps, but was adjudged to have passed Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen after unfairly cutting the Bus Stop chicane. The decision to add a retrospective 25-second penalty to the Briton's race time was enough to drop him to third in the revised result, handing victory - and a much-reduced championship deficit - to Ferrari's Felipe Massa.
McLaren has appealed the decision, which caused outrage among sections of the British media, with a hearing expected in the week before the inaugural Singapore Grand Prix later this month.
"Any suggestion that there is a bias for or against any team or driver is completely untrue," Mosley insisted to Reuters
, "I think [Hamilton] is a brilliant driver and it would be really excellent for Formula One, and the world championship, if he won it. But that doesn't mean we are going to help him or hinder him. We are going to be utterly neutral."
"The British papers have gone hysterical over what happened in Belgium. I think it's a reflection, and I'm sorry to say this, of the stupidity of the people who say it, because they haven't really thought the thing through and put themselves in the position of the people who have to take these very difficult decisions.
"My immediate reaction was this [situation] is going to waste a great deal of everybody's time. Which is true, it's what always happens. A tiny incident and it takes up hours of your time."
Mosley did admit, however, that errors had been made in the immediate handling of the incident, notably the involvement of race director Charlie Whiting. McLaren had requested an 'official' opinion regarding the legitimacy of Hamilton's efforts to return the lead of the race to Raikkonen, and claim that it had been given the okay for the Briton to start attacking again.
It has since been suggested that the F1 rulebook contains a clause that states, in such situations, the chasing driver should not attempt to re-take the lead until after the next corner. Hamilton, it is alleged, used his momentum from cutting the chicane to dive past Raikkonen at La Source.