• Sep 13, 2007
The ongoing "Stepneygate" espionage scandal that has embroiled Formula 1 this summer has drawn to a conclusion (for the time being, at least), and the World Motor Sport Council has meted out some severe punishment. McLaren F1 has been stripped of all its constructors' championship points for the 2007 season and fined $100,000,000 USD -- a record amount. This puts Ferrari in the points lead and makes them the probable champions this year. The BBC also reports that McLaren must prove that none of its cars are making use of any improperly-obtained Ferrari intellectual property before the beginning of next year's F1 campaign.

McLaren will finish out the current F1 season on the track, and both Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso have retained their accumulated drivers' championship points. The FIA's findings and the council's reasoning behind its verdict will be released tomorrow. McLaren boss Ron Dennis will apparently wait to see this information before making a final decision on whether he's going to appeal the council's decision, though based on his quotes in the BBC's report, it sounds like his mind's made up, and an appeal is all but inevitable.

Thanks to all who sent tips!

[Source: BBC]


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  • 39 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Whenever Ferrari starts losing, you can always count on a new FIAsco to be whipped up by the scion of the British Fascist League, Max Mosley.
      • 7 Years Ago
      This is ridiculous. Firstly McLaren haven't been found guilty of using the data, meerly possessing it. And what is meant by McLaren is really one employee, who was then suspended by the team and is thought to have been seeking employment elsewhere next year, along with Stepney. (Which raises the question; why would he use it to benefit McLaren if he was buggering off somewhere else?)

      I remember when Toyota was found in possesion of a vast amount of Ferrari data (04/05ish I think) and in fact couldn't give it back to Ferrari because Toyota data had become jumbled up with it, meaning Ferrari could gain information from them! I'm not sure what happened about the case, but it definitly wasn't a £50 million fine and exclusion from the constructors championship.

      One reason I think this didn't happen was it wasn't in Ferrari's interest to push for Toyota to be excluded - they'd already finished ahead of them anyway. With the situation with McLaren, which they have pushed, they've gained the Constructors Championship. You saw this last year when Ferrari complained to the FIA about Renaults mass damper system giving them an illegal advantage (the dampers weren't illegal, but the rules were changed to outlaw them, cutting Renault advantage over Ferrari - but still Renault won).

      It will be interesting to see how far this goes. It's speculated McLaren have evidence some of their ex-employees took with them 3 data disks to there new employer, Renault. Does this mean Renault should face the same penalty? If it's going to be fair then, yes. What about if you take car designers that have previously worked at another team? For example if you looked at the current Red Bull I'm sure you could find McLaren technology somewhere on the car or used in development. I'm sure you could bankrupt the whole paddock.

      Spying, nicking other peoples ideas (I don't think Colin Chapman added wings to the Lotus' in the 1960's and then ooo, the other teams, by sheer coincedense, had the same idea shortly after) is always going to happen, and why McLaren got such a harsh penalty I have no idea (involving lawyers ina sport most likely).

      It doesn't exactly do the sport any favours this whole saga. Rant over :)
        • 7 Years Ago
        "This is ridiculous. Firstly McLaren haven't been found guilty of using the data, meerly possessing it."

        I thought the point of this new hearing was to review the new email evidence of Alonso discussing with de La Rosa (their test driver) how the car has improved with the info they got from Ferrari.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I think a lot of people saw this coming. That's a ridiculously high fine and I would be be surprised if its appealed and is chopped by 3/4's
        • 7 Years Ago
        Whoops.. Meant to say "I would NOT be surprised if its appealed..."
      • 7 Years Ago
      Ouch, that smarts.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I was really hoping for something harsher. Macca got off easy on this one -- $100MM is only about 1/4 or so of their annual F1 budget, so they may have to skip brining the big double-decker hospitality tent to a few races or something to make it up. Big deal.

      Screw Ron Dennis; his arrogance has finally been put in check by the FIA. The harsher the penalty for McLaren, the better. Too bad they didn't strip Alonso and Hamilton of their WDC points too. And, Ferrari should have received equal penalty as well. They're no more innocent in this ordeal than McLaren.

      Summary: Ban Ferrari and McLaren for '07 and '08, making BMW and Quick Nick the champions, with Kubica runner up! There's my verdict. Oh, and a lifetime ban for Ron Dennis.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'm no Tifosi and I hate Kimi too; I'm a BMW fanboi to the bone. :)

        Don't take that post too seriously, but I do think that $100MM is nearly nothing to McLaren. Maybe Ronnie D has to delay buying that second megayacht a few months, but certainly not enough to actually shunt their operations.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "This is ridiculous. Firstly McLaren haven't been found guilty of using the data, meerly possessing it."

      "I thought the point of this new hearing was to review the new email evidence of Alonso discussing with de La Rosa (their test driver) how the car has improved with the info they got from Ferrari."

      According to the Italian press.
      • 7 Years Ago
      oh snap...that won't be buffing right out...

      So what's this mean for the future of McLaren?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Wow, that is a staggering penalty.

      The big question is: who gets the $100,000,000?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Probably the old fart.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I have had the opportunity to take a good look at many of the 700+ pages that Nigel Stepney "borrowed" from Ferrari. Who would have thought he would have his own blog and have the pages posted? But I digress. I was especially interested in the Bridgestone tires and how Ferrari was able to exploit them - the tires, not Bridgestone. It is quite clear now that McLaren would not have gotten much out of the information since the bulk of the information involved running Ferrari's F1 car with one or more tires not mounted to the car. Ferrari were attempting to determine if any aero advantage could be achieved by eliminating at least one tire from the car. Subsequent tests revealed massive understeer and oversteer depending upon which tire was not on the car.
      This must explain why Ron Dennis left McLaren on several occasions with one or more tires missing from his choice of transport, just to double check Ferrari's determination that the whole idea was rubbish.
      • 7 Years Ago
      i still find it amusing that Ferrari's engineer doesn't know how to use a CD/DVD-burner... LOL
      • 7 Years Ago
      ^^ dibs!!

      man, that's a lot of zeros...
      • 7 Years Ago
      Screw F1. McLaren ought to close shop and quit F1. A $100M USD fine is ridiculous.
      McLaren would make more money in NASCAR.

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