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Remember the case of the former Ferrari Formula 1 tech who shared his company's secrets with rival McLaren-Mercedes? The FIA has announced that it has concluded its investigation into that matter and Team McLaren-Mercedes will not be penalized. Formula 1's governing body held an "extraordinary meeting" of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris today and found that although McLaren did in fact have possession of confidential Ferrari material, there was 'insufficient evidence that it had been used in such a way as to interfere improperly with the FIA Formula 1 World Championship'. So no penalty was given to McLaren-Mercedes.

But the announcement came with a warning. If that information is used "to the detriment of the sport" in the future, the FIA might not be so lenient next time. The suggestion was made that if this were to occur, Ron Dennis and his team would face the 'possibility of exclusion' from the 2007 championship, which they are currently leading. They would also be eliminated from competing in 2008. Disqualification should be a pretty big deterrent, we imagine. Not getting off as easy are the two men at the heart of the issue.

McLaren's chief designer, Mike Coughlan, and Ferrari's former head of performance development, Nigel Stepney, have been 'invited' by the FIA to 'show reasons why they should not be banned from international motor sport for a lengthy period'. Ouch. Should be interesting to hear their responses. We'll keep you posted.

[Source: Crash.net]


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  • 16 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      My relationship with F1 goes back to 1961 and Phil Hill's championship and the last thing I expected was for the FIA to blow up F1 by kicking out the only other team besides Ferrari that has a chance at this year's championship. And with all the other rulings that have fallen Ferrari's way over the past few years this one doesn't look so bad.

      After the Indy debacle when Ferrari was the only competitive team left after the Michelin fiasco, this sport cannot afford to throw the rest of this or any season away by heavily penalizing McLaren even if doing so seems fair under the circumstances. One suspects that the major manufacturers who have a big stake in there being a worldwide TV audience made their feelings known about this. I mean it's not like it's the FIA spending a billion dollars of it's own money to keep this show going. It's Mercedes, BMW, Honda, Renault and Toyota in addition to Ferrari. Plus, I can only imagine that the FIA was aware of the way the Tour de France has just committed suicide when it discussed the resolution of this case.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Losing your chief designer is a pretty significant consequence, no? It's resolved to my satisfaction - back to racing, which btw, this is probably the most exciting f1 season in recent memory.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Coughlain is still officially suspended, not fired, although I'm sure thats inevitable.

        If the rumours (which had surfaced before all this) are to be believed Coughlain had been moved sideways earlier this year and didnt have as much power as before...maybe thats why he and Stepney approached Honda together.

      • 7 Years Ago
      I smiled when I read this story. I remember reading an interview with Ron Dennis a while back (Senna was stilling driving for McLaren...) Dennis said in the interview "I would do anything to stay ahead in F1. It doesn't matter who someone is; if they've got information or technology that could improve my cars, I WILL get my hands on it."

      Go Ron! ;)
      • 7 Years Ago
      im done with formula one, this straw is one too many. ferrari should go ahead tomorrow and announce that once the season is completed that they will no longer participate in formula 1, go focus on endurance racing or something.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Good bye, and good luck! This type of thing goes on at all top levels of racing. Wherever there is big money, you are assured to find corruption.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Alls fair in love and war and F1 racing. Quit yer crying Ferrari and anyone else who wants to litigate.

      I am calling on all major auto makers, worldwide, to put your money where your mouth is and enter a team into F1.
        • 7 Years Ago
        whos gonna enter when your data, trade secrets and cars are able to be stolen with no gaurentee of consequence.
      • 7 Years Ago
      >>Guilty of receiving a package through the mail?

      Guilty of having opened that packet and having kept it saying anything to anyone.
      If someone puts a gun in your mailbox, you are supposed to call the police or (if you are paranoic about dealing with police) to get rid of it a soon as possible.
      If you keep that gun, then you are considering that gun as something that could be useful in the future, no matter how you did get it.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Yay McLaren! Ferrari can suck my ba11s...GO LEWIS!
      • 7 Years Ago
      Guilty of being in conflict with rule 151c of the international motorsport rules. They were in possesion of another teams confidential data. Besides, if you knew much about the whole situation youd know that mclaren already fired one person because of this, and he is being prosecuted in england as a result.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Ferrari Fired Nigel Stephany, Last I heard Mclaren Suspended Mike Coughlan.

        Stephany and Couglan took technical data from Ferrari and I am sure Mclaren also, and went calling on Honda looking for jobs. Honda turned tham away.

        I don't see where Mclaren did anything wrong. One of their employees conspired with one of Ferrari's employees to steal secrets and go peddle it to a third party. Ferrari's and McLaren's employees both acted on their own behalf. Not on behalf of either team.

        We can talk F1 until the cows come home. I go all the way back to Jimmy Clark. '63 '65 WDC.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Haha, well I love F1 too, even though im a bit younger then you.

        Also, absolutely no data has even been speculated to be taken from mcLaren. And ive read from multiple places that the affadavit signed by coughlan says he alerted multiple peoepl in the mclaren organization, although they denied this as a team.

        Further, mclaren should be responsible for their employees action. Just having ferrari data gives an advantage in terms of strategy and of design philosophy. To tell me that McLarens CHIEF designer had the complete ferarari car (discovered by the copy place that found his wife making a 780 page copy of the cars plans) and didnt somehow use it to macs advantage is complete BS.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Oh and coughlan is fired, by mclaren quite some time ago.
      • 7 Years Ago
      To be accurate, McLaren was found guilty, but not penalized.
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