New evidence re-opens McLaren case

On September 13th the FIA International Court of Appeal was due to review the World Motor Sport Council's (WMSC) decision not to punish McLaren after the team was found to be in breach of the sporting regulations but that appeal has now been ...

On September 13th the FIA International Court of Appeal was due to review the World Motor Sport Council's (WMSC) decision not to punish McLaren after the team was found to be in breach of the sporting regulations but that appeal has now been withdrawn as the FIA claims new evidence in the case has come to light.

Instead of the appeal, the WMSC will reconvene on the same date and the investigation into McLaren's breach of the regulations will be re-opened. At the previous hearing the WMSC ruled that McLaren was in possession of confidential Ferrari data but there was not enough evidence to prove that the data had been used to gain advantage.

After that meeting the FIA stated that should further evidence come to light to indicate McLaren had used Ferrari data "to the detriment of the championship" the team would be recalled and could face exclusion from not only this year but next year as well.

Today there was no indication from the FIA about what this new evidence might be, the source of it or how it may affect the case. McLaren has been invited to attend the hearing; the Woking squad has always professed its innocence and claims that a single individual was acting on his own initiative without the team's knowledge.

McLaren responded to the FIA's annoucement with a statement that read: "McLaren Racing has been made aware that new evidence has been presented to the FIA as part of their on-going investigation. As a result we have been informed that the Court of Appeal Hearing scheduled for the 13th September in Paris will now comprise a meeting of the WMSC. McLaren will continue to co-operate fully with the FIA."

The aforementioned McLaren individual is designer Mike Coughlan, who allegedly received the Ferrari data from the Scuderia's now ex-engineer Nigel Stepney. As well as this new FIA action, Stepney is being investigated by Italian authorities and has now been linked to the apparent attempted sabotage of Ferrari's cars prior to the Monaco GP.

A mysterious white powder, possibly some form of detergent, was found in or around the cars' fuel supply in the days before the race and the same powder apparently turned up on Stepney's clothing, but he claims to have been set up. According to the Italian media the prosecutor in the case believes there is evidence against Stepney.

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Series Formula 1
Teams Ferrari , McLaren