Todt: ‘FIA would have punished Ferrari’

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Jean Todt has sensationally claimed that had it been Ferrari in the dock over spying charges yesterday, they would have been found guilty:

I wonder if they had found in the house of a Ferrari chief designer 780 secret papers, 780 classified documents of another team. There would have been cries of a scandal, an exemplary punishment would have been demanded. And it would have been granted, I have no doubt.

FIA President Max Mosley is not keen on having his decisions called into question. He may feel Todt’s criticism, which said there was “no logic” in the verdict, has brought the sport into disrepute.

Jacuqes Villeneuve was reprimanded by the World Motor Sports Council for criticising the FIA’s plans for narrower cars in 1997.

Here’s more of what Todt had to say:

There is not even a sign of logic in this verdict. Either they are guilty or they aren’t. McLaren were found responsible of having violated the regulations of F1, of having behaved in a fraudulent manner, but they haven’t been punished.

That’s not all: McLaren during the hearing admitted to have received secret material, and that the knowledge of this operation of espionage arrived at the top level, even to Ron Dennis, and there hasn’t been any penalization. It’s shameful.

One thing is certain: we at Ferrari can calmly look at ourselves in the mirror. I think others, since yesterday, can’t do the same thing.

From this verdict a strange situation comes up: it’s like having played poker against a rival who knows your cards. The advantage is evident, it’s huge, even. Well, it was pretended nothing happened.

I’ve been in this world for about 40 years, I’ve seen all kinds of stuff so I don’t get surprised by anything, but this state is really at the limit.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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18 comments on “Todt: ‘FIA would have punished Ferrari’”

  1. Ferrari would have been punished? Yeah right. Nobody is going to believe that.

  2. For once, no one answered the Red Phone!!!

  3. waaa waaa waaa…. Poor pitfiful Ferrari….

  4. Nikos Darzentas
    27th July 2007, 18:31

    has Ferrari ever been in front of the council, found guilty, but not penalised? I actually don’t know, but probably not, so why the comments above? have Ferrari ever been caught and the whole thing covered? have they not been the subject of rule clarifications as recently as this year?

    it’s a dirty business, Ferrari surely are no saints, but this is by no means an excuse for anyone to play dirty, get caught, and get away with it

    make me happy: who’s gonna bring M. Schumacher into this? he must be at fault too, surely…

  5. Here, here JT…

  6. LOL Wouldn’t it be a laugh if FIA let McLaren get away with blatant espionage and cheating after being caught red-handed (no pun intended), and then proceeded to impose penalties on Ferrari for questioning the same?
    With the current state of affairs, I wouldn’t be too surprised if it happened though.

  7. Nikos asks:

    “…have Ferrari ever been caught and the whole thing covered?”

    Yes. Bargeboards, Malysia, 1999. They were caught with illegal bargeboards. The stewards said so and Ferrari admitted it. Jean Todt even went on TV and demonstrated how the bargeboards were illegal. Verdict? The FIA said that the stewards AND Ferrari were wrong and everything was OK, carry on, nothing to see here. Do you want evidence that the FIA favour Ferrari? Look how shocked Maranello is now, they can’t believe an FIA decision has gone against them!

  8. Jean Todt has missed the point of what the FIA was trying to achieve with the hearing in the first place.

    The only logical reason why the FIA would have done this now (as opposed to later in the season) was to reserve the right to punish the wrongdoers when it was clear exactly who, and how, that punishment needed to be done. By finding McLaren guilty, but not punishing them and not declaring the case closed, the FIA have achieved their aim.

    This would also explain why the FIA were so keen to reserve the right to exclude McLaren from 2008. If it intends to wait until the courts have extracted the truth from this sorry and messy situation, it may well be the 2008 season before the FIA is in a position to confirm the exact punishments.

    This isn’t over, and I think Ferrari will get their revenge. They just need to be patient.

  9. HAHA Whats he on, Ferrari escape everything!! the FIA always punish teams that arent ferrari

  10. Nikos Darzentas
    27th July 2007, 22:46

    Phil, you’re right, I just checked, Maranello is currently in a grade 3 shock, which passes the threshold and can be used as evidence in a court of law!

    can anyone verify the Malaysia ’99 story? or send a link to a Youtube video with Todt pointing with a pen to the illegal bargeboards?

  11. Nikos Darzentas
    27th July 2007, 23:02

    …I just read some articles regarding the story, and in fact Ferrari appealed to win the argument, for missing a 1cm piece in their bargeboards that had been passed as legal in the previous GP

  12. Completely unnecessary from Todt. But he won’t be punished for it, a fine at worst.

    The more he says stuff like this, the more I wonder what’s going on behind the scenes.

  13. “If it is found in the future that the Ferrari information has been used to the detriment of the championship, we reserve the right to invite Vodafone McLaren Mercedes back in front of the WMSC where it will face the possibility of exclusion from not only the 2007 championship but also the 2008 championship.”

    Well, wonderful! Where does everyone draw the line with all of this? For sure, a 1 cm difference in a bargeboard may be critical, but we are speaking of a great amount of design data here. A “pointing in the right direction” with data can make a lot of difference in the future. The thief certainly wasn’t in possession of this data for late night reading during his retirement.

    Being realistic, this is a theft of knowledge and design not just a bending of the rules that already exist.

    Saying that there may be a calling of the parties before the “judge” in the future means little after the “master plan” which could lead to improvements by the thieving party in the slightest undetectable manner here is what is the point I think. Pointing someone in the “right direction” rather than copying existing technology is the point here. Helping future development by theft is the question here if the development takes place during this season or the next.

    As the slightest development now makes a critical difference in winning or being second, old doctrine of punishment is also outdated quickly. The slightest thief of knowledge in this sport can have winning consequences today, and the next seasons.

    Who would expect the offending team to show a great improvement in the near future that would be detectable given what was stolen? Only a fool would do this given the present press coverage, but what has it done to point that team in a direction that would give an advantage in the future that is well hidden? That is what will not be detectable given the present theft.

    The punishment has to fit the times now, and any theft of knowledge should be dealt with harshly. A “wait and see” attitude is ridiculous in this situation today. F1 should be saying that there will be a great penalty here. The harshness will be determined as more information is learned.

  14. Norbert, there’s a problem here. McLaren must be innocent until proven guilty, that’s a foundation of law. Ferrari carries the burden to prove that McLaren DID use the info to their benefit or that McLaren allowed Coughlan to continue stealing or using the Ferrari dossier. Coughlan could have acted alone here (the motive being his planned defection to Honda), so it cannot be automatically assumed that he was stealing the info for McLaren’s benefit.

    BUT, on the other hand, McLaren should have been punished for admitting they knew of the stolen info but did not tell the FIA about it. A very heavy fine would suffice.

    If McLaren are proved to have used the stolen info, disqualification from 2007 and 2008 is the only penalty that can be meted out.

  15. Ho hum ….. yawn
    All this article did was draw in some new posters ….. WELCOME mates!

  16. But I wonder, if this hadn’t been mcLaren, boy wonder Hamilton’s team, would they have ruled differently?

    Say if Honda had been in contact with this information, would FIA have given them a 2 race ban, point deduction or disqualification?

    Seems the “nays” we heard of in the news where more focused on not giving Hamilton and Alonso a point deduction.. I do understand it from a PR perspective.. but I was quite astonished they spoke in public before the ruling.

  17. Knut, would they have ruled differently? The cynic in me says yes, they would’ve.

  18. I still can’t understand why the FIA confirm McLaren had the thing yet that doesn’t warrant any punishment – as Journeyer says even a fine would have been sufficient surely!

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