What a bizzare turn of events… I suspect there must have been some behind the scenes talks between Mosley and McLaren, and the timing of both announcements seems to confirm my suspicion. I can’t believe I am saying this but it looks like Max Mosley has proven his case against McLaren… I must say the events of yesterday are perhaps even more shocking than the 100 million dollar fine imposed on McLaren… McLaren team that always denied use of any Ferrari data all of a sudden admits widespread use the information among their technical staff. And what more, the team even comes out with an apology to FIA and announces freeze on development of parts that might have been influenced by the information from Ferrari… Wow … This FIA McLaren Report explains things a bit. If what is in that report is indeed the real story, it shows that the information Coughlan obtained from Stepney was quite extensively used within McLaren, and moreover Coughlan’s role in the car development was much bigger than what McLaren previously admitted.
Here is the full statement from McLaren:
“As a result of the investigations carried out by the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile it has become clear that Ferrari information was more widely disseminated within McLaren than was previously communicated. McLaren greatly regrets that its own investigations did not identify this material and has written to the World Motor Sport Council to apologise for this.
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.
Excellent find from f1fanatic …
It looks like FIA messed up big time when releasing the WMSC transcripts. Before they released them to public, FIA announced this:
“Complete transcripts of the July 26th and September 13th hearings have been sent to both McLaren and Ferrari this afternoon. The teams now have the opportunity to redact any confidential technical or financial information prior to publication.
The transcripts will be published on the FIA web site at 1200 hrs on Wednesday, September 19th.”
The transcripts from last weeks World Motor Sports Council hearing are now online. You can download it in PDF format here.
Enjoy the reading.
For the uncensored version of WMSC transcripts click here: WMSC Uncensored
The World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) published the reasons for the McLaren’s punishment. First the summary of the punishment:
- McLaren had been docked all their 2007 Constructors’ Championship points
- McLaren team was also handed an unprecedented $100m fine (m stands for million here, $ stands for US dollar)
The WMSC decision in full is a long reading (click) and takes some time to digest. Read it first, and then feel free to compare your thoughts with mine… I wish to make it clear here, that I am not a McLaren hater or a Ferrari fanatical supporter. I supported BAR and Honda, and as they are out of contention this year I am a neutral fan enjoying the 4 way title battle…
I begin with question “Who knew what?”. Well, we still do not know the answer. But we know that much more people were involved than McLaren dared to admit. The major question is – Did Dennis or Whitmarsh know?
This will take some time to digest… Here it is, my opinion on this will come tomorrow… I need to read this more than once…
1 Background1.1 Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro (“Ferrari”) has submitted that it received information on 24 June 2007 suggesting that unauthorised use may have been made of certain of its confidential information. Ferrari has submitted that it subsequently learned that certain of its confidential information had come into possession of Mr. Michael Coughlan (“Coughlan”), the then Chief Designer of McLaren.
1.2 On 3 July 2007, in the context of litigation in the High Court of England and Wales (“High Court Proceedings”) between Ferrari and Coughlan, a search was undertaken at the private residence of Coughlan under the authority of that Court. According to the evidence before the WMSC, during that search, a dossier of some 780 pages of confidential information belonging to Ferrari was recovered.
First the McLaren 2007-2008 expulsion reports came out, then they were put on hold, now there is what looks like a final version:
After deliberation, the WMSC ruled that McLaren were to be stripped off their 2007 Constructors’ Championship points. On top of it comes record US$100m fine. Also their 2008 cars will be subject to examinations before racing next season. Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso will face no points-penalties and will be allowed to fight for this year’s Drivers’ Championship title.
OK, now we know, that the actual text of the email exchange between Alonso and De La Rosa was made up by an Italian journalist. But at the same time, we know, that there was some email communication between them. FIA got information about that and asked the McLaren drivers to disclose all they know. But how did FIA get the info about the email exchange in a first place?
Pavel Turek told Czech TV Nova that he believes, Alonso or people from his team, are behind all this. Later on he went on to explain his opinion for Czech server www.f1sports.cz.
Now, if you wonder, who the hell is Pavel Turek, remember, this person was a manager of McLaren at the times when it was West McLaren Mercedes, and retains very close relationship with former McLaren driver, David Coulthard. You may visit here for more details. He is still very much at home in F1 paddock…
Here is what he had to say about the email exchange (translated from F1Sports.cz):
McLaren and its boss Ron Dennis seem to be getting desperate. The sightings of Flavio Briatore visiting Dennis’ motorhome in Monza were first attributed to possible Alonso to Renault talks.
In fact it seems that these two guys were talking about Dennis’ threats to drag Renault into the spy saga story.
Would it be wise for any driver hoping for future in F1 to ignore letter like this?
Dear Mr De La Rosa
As you will be aware, the FIA has recently investigated whether, how and to what extent McLaren was in possession of confidential Ferrari technical information. The FIA has subsequently been made aware of an allegation that one or more McLaren drivers may be in possession, or that such drivers have recently been in possession, of written evidence relevant to this investigation.
In the interests of the sport and the Championship it is important that the FIA as the regulator establishes unequivocally and rapidly whether or not this allegation has any basis in fact.
As the title suggests, all we have are rumours and rumours only. But this, from grandprix.com points into new direction:
The suggestion is that the damning evidence against McLaren is a series of e-mails between Fernando Alonso and McLaren ‘s test driver Pedro de la Rosa, from which it is clear that information that originated from Ferrari was used to help McLaren with its set-up. There is nothing to back up these rumours because the FIA continues to refuse to say anything on the subject. It is a suggestion that could have some validity. De la Rosa has worked closely with Mike Coughlan at Arrows and at McLaren and so the two men have had strong links in the past.
It was quiet for quite some time, with the International Court of Appeal hearing planned for next week (September 13). Then all of a sudden we have 2 developments on the same day. First The Modena magistrate Giuseppe Tibis confirmed that there is a case against the former Ferrari engineer Nigel Stepney. There is supposed to reasonable proof that Stepney was involved in the Monaco white powder case. Then, later on on the same day, FIA came with announcement in the Stepney-Coughlan saga: