SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen was confirmed as Formula One champion, pending an appeal, on Sunday after Brazilian Grand Prix stewards cleared BMW Sauber and Williams of alleged fuel irregularities.
Williams’ Nico Rosberg had finished fourth in the race with BMW’s Sauber’s Robert Kubica and Nick Heidfeld fifth and sixth but their results were called into question by doubts about their fuel.
Had they been disqualified, McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton would have been promoted to fourth place, handing the 22-year-old British rookie the title.
Ferrari’s Raikkonen beat Hamilton and his Spanish team mate Fernando Alonso by one point after winning Sunday’s race at Interlagos. Alonso was third and Hamilton seventh.
The stewards said in a statement, issued some six and a half hours after the end of the race, that there was sufficient doubt about the fuel temperatures “as to render it inappropriate to impose a penalty.”
However, an FIA spokeswoman said McLaren had announced their intention to appeal.
It was not the first time that the Formula One circus had left Brazil with uncertainty shrouding the outcome of the race.
In 2003, Raikkonen was declared the winner, only to have the victory taken away from him days later and handed to Italian Giancarlo Fisichella.
In 1995 there was also a controversy, with Benetton and Williams denied constructors’ points for using fuel that was regular but did not conform to samples approved by the governing body.
The drivers were allowed to keep their points in that case.