Italian authorities investigate McLaren

The spy drama continues to escalate as Italian authorities yesterday contacted members of McLaren to inform them that they are now part of a criminal investigation, with claims of sporting fraud and industrial espionage. Those involved reportedly...

The spy drama continues to escalate as Italian authorities yesterday contacted members of McLaren to inform them that they are now part of a criminal investigation, with claims of sporting fraud and industrial espionage. Those involved reportedly include team principal Ron Dennis and CEO Martin Whitmarsh as well as managing director Jonathon Neale.

No legal action has been taken against the team so far: the 'avviso di garanzia' -- issued by the Modena magistrates -- is served to make an individual aware that they are the subject of an investigation. The police will assess the claims previously mentioned and decide whether there is a case to proceed with.

Media reports say that suspended McLaren designer Mike Coughlan and ex-Ferrari engineer Nigel Stepney, the main protagonists in the spy scandal, have also been served. McLaren confirmed contact from the authorities and believes the situation was contrived to upset the team as it prepares for the Italian Grand Prix.

"McLaren did receive some contact from the Italian authorities yesterday but was not charged with anything," said a statement on Sunday morning. "We strongly suspect that the nature and timing of this wholly unnecessary contact, just before the start of qualifying, was to disrupt our preparation for this important session and Thursday's World Motor Sport Council hearing."

"McLaren is completely confident that were any proceedings of this type ever to be brought we would be completely exonerated."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Martin Whitmarsh
Teams Ferrari , McLaren