In another effect of Formula One's industrial espionage scandal of 2007, McLaren Mercedes has been relocated from fifth-from-front to last-in-line garage spot at Bahrain for the island nation's upcoming grand prix. Lewis Hamilton,...
In another effect of Formula One's industrial espionage scandal of 2007, McLaren Mercedes has been relocated from fifth-from-front to last-in-line garage spot at Bahrain for the island nation's upcoming grand prix.
The change prompted an apology from operators of the Bahrain International Circuit, which had planned to put McLaren in garages nearer the front, or track-entry end, of pit lane.
"We understand that it is in line with the rules and regulations of the sport for McLaren, which scored no points in the 2007 constructors' championship, to take the final set of garages," said Shaikh Salman bin Isa Al Khalifa, chief operating officer at the circuit. "However, in Bahrain we do our utmost to ensure that fans of each team get to sit opposite their favorite team's pit garages to see the action unfold. Sadly, on this occasion we must apologize to McLaren fans and accept that this is force majeure."
Garage spaces are doled out according to team points accumulation. Although McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton were allowed to keep points and finished as co-runners-up in the 2007 World Drivers' Championship, McLaren as a team was stripped of points in a punitive action by the FIA over the spying scandal, in which McLaren employees wound up in possession of Ferrari data.
McLaren was allowed to take the fifth space in the garage order at Australia and Malaysia, but an edict from Formula One Management directed Bahrain circuit personnel to change the team's garage. McLaren will take quarters next to Force India.
Mumtalakat, a holding company owned by the state of Bahrain, owns a 30-percent share in the McLaren team.