Sports experts at Blackstone Chambers and 4 Pump Court went head-to-head at the International Automobile Federation (FIA) in a clash that could have seen Formula 1 rookie driver Lewis Hamilton crowned champion.
Nigel Tozzi QC of 4 Pump Court won out, however, resulting in Kimi Raikkonen keeping hold of his title as world champion.
McLaren appealed the decision of the Brazilian Grand Prix stewards not to punish the BMW Sauber and Williams teams for using fuel that was too cool.
The FIA’s independent court of appeal, which had a four-judge panel, rejected McLaren’s call for a reclassification of the championship and the arguments put forward by Ian Mill QC of Blackstone. The appeal was therefore dismissed. Mill had pointed to 26 instances in Formula 1 history where there had been disqualifications and a championship reclassification.
He told the court: “The driver may be entirely innocent, but he has the benefit of the infringing car. It must be right that, if the team is disqualified, the driver loses the points as well.”
Tozzi countered that “this is not the way a Formula 1 world championship should be won”, with Ferrari accusing the McLaren team of being “naked opportunists”.
If Williams’ Nico Rosberg and BMW Sauber pair Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld had been disqualified, Hamilton could have moved up from fourth place to seventh in the Brazilian Grand Prix and gained enough points to overtake Raikkonen to win the drivers’ title.
Tozzi was instructed by Professor Dr Henry Peter of Swiss firm Peter Bernasconi & Partners, while Mill took an instruction from Baker & McKenzie partner Michael Hart.