Much has been made of the size of the punishment handed out to McLaren by the World Motor Sport Council in the wake of the spying row, with critics claiming it is too big or too small, but others on the grid admitted relief that it wasn't them on the receiving end.

Asked what having to stump up $100 million would mean for their operations, the five team principals attending Friday's FIA press conference were almost unanimous in suggesting that McLaren would be better placed than them to absorb the impact.

"For me, it's very simple," Toro Rosso co-owner Gerhard Berger insisted, "I'm bankrupt!"

Others on the panel included 'works' bosses Flavio Briatore and Mario Theissen, representing Renault and BMW respectively, and both were a little more vague in their replies, although similar sentiments existed.

"It's a lot of money for everybody because...," Briatore began, "For $100m, for example, you have three or four Alonsos, three or four Schumachers in the team. This is what you have. It's a fairly high penalty. I'm sure it's very high."

"It's quite simple," Theissen agreed, "If you are running a team during the season, you get aware of being fined $100m, and you certainly don't have it put aside before. So, if there is no-one to open his pocket, you have to wind down your operations."

Red Bull Racing has one of the more generous benefactors in the paddock, but Christian Horner agreed that even Dietrich Mateschitz might think twice before dipping hand in pocket.

"In terms of monetary, it's obviously an inconceivable amount of cash," Horner explained, "In proportion to budgets, I'm sure the FIA thought long and hard about the size of the fine but, certainly from our perspective, I don't think our cheque book is that big. We can't fit that many zeros on it so, from our point of view, we certainly wouldn't be in a position to be able to cover a fine of that quantum."

Finally, Honda's Nick Fry was forced to admit that even a financially well-funded factory team would have struggled to meet the requirements.

"I think, in Formula One, because the numbers are big, sometimes people talk about millions as if it's trivial," he said, "I can assure you, certainly in our team and I suspect in all the others, the budgets are worked out very carefully, we try and allocate the money as effectively as possible and $100m is a vast amount of money for any of the teams.

"The results of having to pay that, if it was actually cash, would be very significant. It would mean that we would have to find it elsewhere or whatever. I don't really know... It's not happened to us and I hope it never will, but it's a vast amount of money - even by Formula One standards."



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