Flying in the face of those who claim the FIA is biased towards Ferrari and against McLaren-Mercedes and its star driver Lewis Hamilton, Max Mosley has asserted that if the Briton triumphs in this year's world championship, 'it will be excellent, really, really good for Formula 1'.

There have been a whole host of conspiracy theories over the course of the 2008 campaign, fuelled by Hamilton's five penalties - most notably his demotion from first place to third in the Belgian Grand Prix at Spa-Francorchamps last month for having been deemed by race stewards to have gained an unfair advantage during his fraught late-race scrap with Ferrari rival Kimi Raikkonen.

By contrast, it has sometimes been suggested that the sport's governing body has been far more lenient with both the Scuderia and its driver Felipe Massa, who received little more than a EUR10,000 fine and slap on the wrist for having been erroneously released by his team into the path of the Force India of Adrian Sutil following his second pit-stop in the European Grand Prix at Valencia in August.

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FIA President Mosley, however, has now praised Hamilton for the impact the 23-year-old world championship leader has had on the traditional 'white elitist' image of F1, adding that the Stevenage-born ace's arrival in the uppermost echelon and performances over his first two seasons have increased the sport's popularity in both the UK and 'even more so abroad'.

"It has that image, inevitably, because it's so expensive to get into," the 68-year-old told British newspaper The Guardian of F1's long-standing reputation.

"He (Hamilton) has come from a pretty ordinary background, he's black and he's very successful. For us, if he's successful, it will be excellent, really, really good for Formula 1."

Mosley also sought to dispel any talk of the sport's rule-makers discriminating more against Hamilton than against other drivers.

"That doesn't mean we're going to help him," he urged, "and it certainly doesn't mean we're going to hinder him."