Further to other recent developments in the Ferrari/McLaren espionage drama this week, the FIA has summoned representatives of McLaren to an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) in Paris on July 26th. The sport's governing...
Further to other recent developments in the Ferrari/McLaren espionage drama this week, the FIA has summoned representatives of McLaren to an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) in Paris on July 26th. The sport's governing body launched its own investigation into the affair last week and is charging McLaren with breaking the Sporting Regulations by possessing Ferrari information without consent.
"The team representatives have been called to answer a charge that between March and July 2007, in breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes had unauthorised possession of documents and confidential information belonging to Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, including information that could be used to design, engineer, build, check, test, develop and/or run a 2007 Ferrari Formula One car," said a statement.
In court in London this week McLaren designer Mike Coughlan, who was suspended from the team once the allegations became known, agreed to an affidavit to inform Ferrari about his involvement in the affair. Reportedly computer discs containing hundreds of pages of Ferrari technical information were found during a search of his home.
Speaking at last weekend's British Grand Prix, McLaren boss Ron Dennis denied that his cars featured any developments that were a product of Ferrari information, or that of any other team. "We have never to my knowledge, and certainly over the past few months over this period, ever used other people's intellectual property," he stated.
In court it was revealed that McLaren managing director Jonathon Neale knew that Coughlan had the documents but it's not known if Neale was aware of that before or after Ferrari started its legal action. McLaren responded to the FIA summonds by stating that it was "extremely disappointed" to be asked to answer the charge.
"Whilst McLaren wishes to continue its full co-operation with any investigation into this matter, it does wish to make it very clear that the documents and confidential information were only in the possession of one currently suspended employee on an unauthorised basis and no element of it has been used in relation to McLaren's Formula 1 cars."
If McLaren is found guilty the punishment could be anything from a fine to disqualification from the championship. Bernie Ecclestone opined that McLaren drivers Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso would not be affected by any punishement. However, FIA President Max Mosley has reportedly said that only in "exceptional circumstances" was a team penalty different from a driver penalty.