Following the letter from Luigi Macaluso, the head of the Italian national sporting authority CSAI, to Max Mosley, Ferrari has been given the right to appeal to the FIA International Court of Appeal. Due to the rules they could not appeal themselves, so it looks like they used a Ferrari friend to help. Macaluso had been allegedly in favour of Ferrari at the World Council but was later revealed as having voted for no punishment for McLaren. He however believes, Ferrari has a right to appeal.
“The Board has ratified what happened until now, which is the action taken against Nigel Stepney over the fact of the powder found around the refuelling aperture on the F1 cars during the Monaco Grand Prix tests. The submission of another legal action against Stepney concerning the theft of technical information, the civil action presented to The High Court of London against Mike Coughlan, chief designer of McLaren Mercedes, and his wife, concerning the theft of the aforementioned documents.”
“The Board took note of the FIA World Council’s decision of 26th of July and of today’s decision from the FIA President, Max Mosley, to refer this matter to a hearing of the FIA Court of Appeal, where Ferrari, as the injured party of the incident, will be accorded all the rights to which they are entitled in a trial, which was not the case at the World Council meeting.”
McLaren did not wait for long to issue their statement:
“McLaren is not aware of any new information or arguments that have arisen since the meeting of the World Motor Sport Council and therefore assumes that these same materials will now be considered by the FIA International Court of Appeal,” the statement added. “Whilst this is both disappointing and time-consuming, McLaren is confident that the FIA International Court of Appeal will also exonerate McLaren and we will in the meanwhile continue to focus on our current World Championship programme.”
Only a fool would believe that last week FIA World Council ruling would end the whole story. The angry reaction from Jean Todt was a clear indication that Ferrari has every intention to fight on. It looks like all out war between the two top team is a reality now.
In the meantime, Stepney insists on his innocence. He told Italian newspaper La Republica “I did not take any designs from Ferrari, someone passed on the designs but it wasn’t me. I do not want to involve other colleagues. I know one part of the story, not all. Someone set me up and that person is still within Ferrari.” He also reacted to Monaco white powder stories: “I didn’t put it there, they put the powder in my pants pocket while I was taking a shower.” And while he does not want to involve any of colleagues, he names Ross Brawn as one of the group of people who planned to form a breakaway team… That is something new we haven’t heard yet in this saga.
This talk from Stepney reminds me of cornered wounded beast fighting for life. Sure, nobody yet shown to us, public, any proof that Stepney is guilty in any way. But, he was clearly named by Todt in his reaction to the FIA World Council ruling, where lots of documents not yet accessible to public sure had been presented. I wonder why would Todt do that …
Letter from Macaluso to Mosley:
Dear President,We have been informed about the outcome of the most recent meeting of the World Motor Sport Council held on July 26, 2007 in Paris. We have also exchanged views with our license holder, Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro (owned by Ferrari SpA).
We must confess that we find it quite difficult to justify how a team has not been penalised while it has been found in breach of clause 151c of the International Sporting Code. Indeed, this is probably the most fundamental provision of our sport.
In the present case the infringement is very serious since it has been assessed that the team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has repeatedly breached such provision, over several months, through several top team representatives, to the detriment of its most direct competitor and therefore to its direct or indirect advantage and knowing that such infringement would still be ongoing would it had not been fortuitously discovered.
The very fact that the breach of clause 151c has been assessed by the World Motor Sport Council means that all conditions of such breach were fulfilled. We cannot see why additional conditions would have to be demonstrated in order for a penalty to be inflicted.
The recent history of Formula One offers several examples of cases in which a party was inflicted a severe penalty because of a breach of clause 151c, without the subject matter of such breach having been used by a team or having had any effect on the outcome of the competition.
We fear that the decision of the World Motor Sport Council could create a precedent which, at this level of the sport and stage of the competition, would be highly inappropriate and detrimental for the sport.
In any event, in view of the aforesaid, we respectfully suggest that you, in your capacity as President of the FIA, in accordance with the powers granted to you by clause 23 paragraph 1 of the FIA Statutes and article 1 of the CIA rules, submit the matter to the International Court of Appeal of the FIA.
This would also enable our license holder, Ferrari, on behalf of which we would take part to the proceedings, and perhaps other teams as well, to fully submit their position and protect their rights. In effect, Ferrari – as at least two other teams – attended the World Motor Sport Council in Paris as observers and not as a party.
Accordingly, they did not have a full right of audience. As, however, Ferrari in any event had been seriously and directly affected by McLaren’s behaviour, we deem it appropriate that Ferrari (directly or through ourselves) enjoys full rights of due process which would be the case in accordance with the rules applicable in front of the International Court of Appeal.
The President of ACI – CSAI
Copy to: Ferrari SpA, Maranello, Att Jean Todt, CEO
Letter from Mosley to Macaluso:
Dear Mr MacalusoThank you for your letter of 30 July
If, as you suggest, it were clear that several of McLaren’s top team representatives were aware of the Ferrari information over a period of several months, the situation would indeed be very serious.
Apart from using Ferrari’s technical knowledge to give the McLaren cars an illegitimate advantage over the entire field, detailed knowledge of Ferrari’s technical strategies would give McLaren significant and unfair advantages over Ferrari at every race.
However McLaren’s case was that, except for a tip-off in March and a drawing shown briefly to a colleague as a historical curiosity, no one at McLaren knew of or had access to any of that information.
According to McLaren, it was acquired privately by a disgruntled employee who intended to leave. They inferred he never used Ferrari’s information to help McLaren because it was part of his private database as technical director for another team.
There are a number of suspicious elements, all of which the World Motor Sport Council took into account when reaching its decision.
For example: the claim that the tip-off was the only information that passed in March; the failure to inform Ferrari of a spy when negotiating an agreement based on mutual trust; the installation of a “firewall” at McLaren to stop Stepney communicating, with no attempt at a similar block on Coughlan’s private computers; McLaren’s agreement to Coughlan travelling to Barcelona “to ask Stepney to stop communicating” rather than simply phone him; the fact that, far from ceasing communication, Coughlan returned from Barcelona with a vast quantity of Ferrari data; the failure to make clear what Coughlan was working on at McLaren while in possession of the data; Jonathan Neale’s advice to Coughlan to destroy the documents, without knowing or wanting to know what they were and so on.
However, these suspicions did not amount to proof to the standard the Council felt was necessary in order to reject the evidence of McLaren’s Team Principal and Managing Director and convict the team of an offence so grave as in all probability to warrant the exclusion from the Championship.
In the absence of unambiguous evidence that McLaren as a team had received and used the Ferrari information, the Council was left with McLaren’s responsibility for its employee. Exclusion or withdrawal of points did not seem appropriate if it was really just a case of a rogue employee illegitimately acquiring information for his own purposes.
Your letter suggests that the outcome may have been different if the Council had given Ferrari further opportunities to be heard beyond those that were in fact offered.
Because of this and the importance of public confidence in the outcome, I will send this matter to the FIA Court of Appeal under article 23.1 of the FIA Statutes with a request that the Court hear both Ferrari and McLaren and any other Championship competitor who so requests and determine whether the decision of the WMSC was appropriate and, if not, substitute such other decision as may be just.
CC: Mr Ron Dennis
Mr Jean Todt