Ferrari's lawyers have hit back at McLaren as the FIA International Court of Appeal hearing into the 'illegal fuel' issue gathers pace, insisting it would be 'a serious injustice' should Kimi Raikkonen be deprived of his world drivers' title in a London courtroom.

What's more, the Scuderia suggested the sport itself would be badly harmed should the judges come down on McLaren's side and move Lewis Hamilton up the finishing order in the season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix by disqualifying the BMW-Saubers and Williams' from the results.

"It would be highly damaging for the sport if the title were to won this way," news agency Reuters quotes the Italian team's lawyer Nigel Tozzi as having told the court, "with the fans probably feeling it was more about grubby manoeuvring by the lawyers than skill behind the wheel.

"It would be a serious injustice to Mr Raikkonen were the championship to be taken away from him. As McLaren have always said, the championship should be decided on the race track and not in the courtroom."

Having lost out on the crown by a sole point to Raikkonen in a dramatic final outing at Interlagos, Hamilton could yet inherit the title if Nico Rosberg, Nick Heidfeld and Robert Kubica are thrown out over the fuel controversy - with the fuel in their cars having been measured as being too cool in the wake of the Brazilian Grand Prix, thereby handing the drivers a theoretical advantage.

However, even if the drivers concerned are disqualified, it would still be up to the stewards' discretion as to whether to promote Hamilton up the order or not, with the Brit himself having stressed he does not wish to win the championship in this manner.

In response to comments from McLaren that they were not appealing in order to clinch the title through the back door, but rather to gain a clarification over the rules, Tozzi argued if those remarks were not truthful they would condemn members of the team as "shameless hypocrites devoid of any integrity".

Along with representatives from both BMW-Sauber and Williams, Tozzi reasoned McLaren's case was inadmissible in the first place because the team had not been an interested party in the stewards' initial enquiry and had not appealed against the race classification.

BMW's lawyer Ian Meakin also alluded to 'naked opportunism' on McLaren's part while suggesting that, even if the appeal were to prove successful, the maximum penalty for the two teams should be no greater than a fine.

 

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