By Alan Baldwin

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LONDON, Nov 14 (Reuters) Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen should not lose too much sleep over an appeal hearing tomorrow that could hand his Formula One crown to Briton Lewis Hamilton in a row over 'cool fuel', according to former champion Damon Hill.

''I think it's very, very unlikely that will happen,'' 1996 champion Hill told Reuters when asked about that possibility.

''We know who the 2007 world champion is.'' The judges at the hearing (1530hrs), moved from Paris to London because of a French transport strike, could disqualify the three BMW Sauber and Williams drivers who beat Hamilton in last month's season-ending Brazilian Grand Prix.

If McLaren's Hamilton is promoted from seventh to fourth, the 22-year-old rookie would leapfrog Finn Raikkonen in the final standings to become the youngest champion.

However, the stewards do not have to move Hamilton up the race order and the Briton has said he wants to win the title on the track and not in a courtroom.

Raikkonen, winner of more grands prix than any other driver this year, beat his rival by a single point after clawing back a 17-point deficit with two races to go.

McLaren appealed after stewards at Interlagos imposed no sanction on BMW Sauber and Williams for having fuel that appeared to be too cool.

''I think it's worth a shot having a go, at least just to establish a principle, but I don't think it will change anything,'' said Hill of the appeal.

ECCLESTONE AGAINST Formula One's commercial supremo Bernie Ecclestone agreed.

''I don't think that the Formula One fans would like a championship to be won because the temperature of the fuel, which can't be measured anyway, is possibly five Celsius out,'' Ecclestone told the Times newspaper on Wednesday.

''If anybody thinks that's the best thing for Formula One, then I'd have a very serious thought about me retiring,'' he joked.

''In my opinion, they don't have to change the results of the race -- it's an infringement of the regulations,'' added the Briton.

''On the same weekend, McLaren used an extra set of tyres, which they shouldn't have used -- that was an infringement -- so maybe if anything does happen at this Court of Appeal, maybe they'll treat it exactly the same as the tyres.'' Max Mosley, head of the governing FIA, also felt Hamilton was unlikely to be handed the title although Thursday's judges will reach an independent decision.

''Even if they excluded those cars, they are not obliged to reclassify Hamilton,'' he told the BBC last month. ''There's absolutely no need, if they don't wish to, to change the position that Hamilton was in.'' Raikkonen, often monosyllabic in his relations with the media, has said little about the matter but Hill recognised him as a deserved champion.

''I understand that the public want flamboyant characters in sport and it's very important to have that, but I do think also that there has got to be a space for someone who has talent and does not want to become flamboyant,'' he said.

''One of the greatest racing drivers of all time was as shy as anything, Jim Clark.

''Kimi Raikkonen has every right to keep himself to himself and not be outspoken and to just get on with his driving. That's what he is and we should respect that,'' said Hill.

REUTERS SSC HT1950

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