Bernie Ecclestone has threatened to walk away from F1 should McLaren-Mercedes' appeal against the decision not to disqualify the BMW-Sauber and Williams' cars from last month's Brazilian Grand Prix prove successful.

The four cars in question were all investigated in the wake of the season finale, and discovered to have been running illegally cool fuel during the race. The stewards in Interlagos, however, resolved not to throw them out of the results - a move that would have handed Lewis Hamilton the crown, and one which the Briton's McLaren team has elected to challenge.

The matter has consequently been passed on to the FIA Court of Appeal, which will now meet in London at 10am on Thursday - having been moved from its original venue of Paris - where the destination of this year's Formula 1 World Drivers' Championship will finally be confirmed.

"I don't think Formula 1 fans would like a championship to be won because the temperature of the fuel, which can't be measured anyway, is possibly five degrees out," Ecclestone is quoted as having told The Times. "If anybody thinks that's the best thing for Formula 1, then I'd have a very serious thought about retiring."

On past history, however, there would appear to be just a very slim hope of McLaren's appeal convincing the court to change the result, with only Ferrari ever succeeding in its bid to overturn the initial decision over a barge board issue in Malaysia eight years ago. What's more, Ecclestone reckoned Williams and BMW's transgression to be of a similar level to that committed by McLaren during practice in Brazil, when the Woking-based outfit had mistakenly and illegally used an extra set of rubber. On that occasion the team was punished by way of a small fine and the confiscation of the offending tyres.

"I don't think anything's going to happen," Ecclestone added. "In my opinion, they don't have to change the results of the race - it's an infringement of the regulations. On the same weekend, McLaren used an extra set of tyres which they shouldn't have used - that was an infringement - so if anything does happen at this Court of Appeal, maybe they'll treat it exactly the same as the tyres."

In the meantime, the sport's ringmaster is still hoping McLaren boss Ron Dennis will withdraw the appeal at the eleventh hour, adding he didn't think "Ron has really got the intention of continuing with it".

Hamilton has repeatedly insisted he does not wish to be handed the title on appeal.

 

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