As expected McLaren decided not to appeal the punishment handed to the by the WMSC on September 13.
‘Having now had time to study the judgement of the World Motor Sport Council with its lawyers and shareholders, McLaren thinks it is in the best interests of the sport, and its goal of winning races and World Championships, not to appeal.
It is clear from the full judgement that the World Motor Sport Council concluded that the charge that a McLaren employee had “unauthorised possession of documents and confidential information” was proven.Despite the existence of no evidence that the information was applied, tested or shared with the engineering team (which it was not), this possession constitutes a breach of the Code.
To our regret and embarrassment, the content of the previously unknown emails demonstrated possession not being limited to a single person, albeit unsanctioned in any way by the team. For this breach of Article 151c, a very heavy penalty has been imposed on the team.
The major principle of the issue for McLaren is: this information was not used to gain advantage on its cars.
Moving forwards, and in consultation with our shareholders, we will now review and further strengthen our internal compliance structures and processes.
We believe the time has come to put this huge distraction behind us. McLaren wants to win races and World Championships. We are fortunate to have, and continue to receive, unwavering support from our employees, sponsor partners and Formula 1 fans across the world – all of whom are equally keen that we totally focus on winning this year’s Drivers’ Championship and the remaining three races of the season.’
This completes the second step on what now looks a genuine closure seeking by Ron Dennis, after deciding not to appeal their points deduction from Hungarian Grand Prix. Next and perhaps the final major ones on McLaren part would be sorting out their “Alonso” situation and settling the Renault case.
This however does not mean the original “Stepneygate” is over. Not for Ferrari, not for Stepney, not for Coughlan. The legal proceedings in Italy and Britain are still in process and some people may still end up behind bars…
Two significant precedents were set here. First, the punishments the teams can expect in the future are not too short from terminal, at least while Mosley is in power. Second, drivers or other team staff may not be held responsible for the actions of their teams, and that even if they are personally involved. This creates lots of opportunities for evil people and makes the jobs of team owners tricky. The staff, the drivers will for sure become aware of their negotiating powers. One rogue staff or one rogue driver may doom the whole team … The situation where for a team owner anybody can potentially be a hidden threat to an existence of the team is not healthy and the FIA and the teams should find some time to address it.