It appears that the investigation into McLaren's 2008 car has come to an end as the FIA announced on December 18th that the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) hearing scheduled for February 14th has been cancelled. McLaren recently apologised for the spy scandal and urged the sport's governing body to bring the matter to a conclusion.
Part of the penalty imposed on the team, when it was found guilty of being in breach of sporting regulations for having unauthorized possession of confidential Ferrari data, was that its 2008 car had to be inspected to satisfy the WMSC that no Ferrari data had been incorporated in the development.
A ruling was expected in a meeting early this month but the WMSC decided to defer its decision until February. However, in the wake of McLaren's apology, in which the team conceded that "Ferrari information was more widely disseminated within McLaren than was previously communicated" the WMSC has accepted Max Mosley's request to consider the matter closed.
"Further to the proposal of the FIA President, the World Motor Sport Council has agreed to cancel the hearing scheduled for February 14, 2008," said the brief statement. McLaren can now continue with its preparations for next season without the threat of further investigation or penalty hanging over its head.
The new car is due to make its track debut at a private Jerez test in the second week of January, although the Woking squad currently has no plans for an official launch. The team also announced last week that Heikki Kovalainen will partner Lewis Hamilton in 2008; the pair have known each other since their karting days.
Meanwhile, Hamilton has been keeping in practice ready for the new season, but not quite in the right way. The Brit was caught speeding at reportedly nearly 200 kmph by French police on a stretch of motorway near the northern town of Laon, and had his driving licence suspended for a month.