Briatore: ‘Throw McLaren out’ (updated)

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Flavio Briatore, Renault, Nurburginrg, 2007 | Charles Coates / LATRenault boss Flavio Briatore was waded into the spying row, alleging that McLaren had access to confidential Ferrari information much earlier than April this year.

He demanded McLaren’s exclusion from the championship and also stated his objection to the introduction of engine control systems developed by Microsoft McLaren Electronic Systems for every team next year.

Here’s what he had to say:

On whether McLaren used Ferrari intellectual property

Last winter, I was saying how lucky McLaren are to be immediately that quick on Bridgestone tyres. We, on the other hand, were in full crisis mode: Michelin’s retirement turned out to be a disaster for Renault.

It’s evident that they had the data on the weight distribution by Ferrari, who used Bridgestone tyres for almost ten years. That page in the famous stolen dossier would have been enough to save months of work and to find the solution immediately.

This is a staggering claim that, if proven, would be immensely serious for McLaren. The World Motor Sports Council threatened them with exclusion from the 2007 and 2008 championships if it was proved that they used Ferrari information on their cars.

But Briatore hasn’t offered any proof of how McLaren might have obtained the information earlier than they did.

If they did have information on the advantages of having a more rearward-biased weight distribution, why did they not build a longer wheelbase car, as Ferrari did, which favours it?

Although ballast can be moved around the car there are limits on what can be done constrained by the design of the car, which would have been set early in 2006.

On McLaren’s punishment

Here is a team that acquired an advantage illegally. Just read the regulations: for intellectual property theft the punishment is exclusion.

On Microsoft McLaren Electronic System producing next year’s ECUs

At the moment I’m writing a protest. We don’t want them. First of all, because they don’t work on our cars: the cars don’t even start up. And second, why should we send some of our data to McLaren?

This is a separate issue although I did think it strange at the time that such an important contract would be awarded to a company with such close links to an active Formula 1 team.

It’s understandable that, in the current climate, othe team managers would becoming worried about it.

On past grievances with McLaren

Ron Dennis… was the one who protested us on the mass damper. He is not the immaculate saint he pretends to be on his statements.

Briatore makes no attempt to disguise the fierce rivalry between Renault and McLaren. Which begs the question – has he not just given this interview making these allegations as an attempt to de-stabilise McLaren hours before the first qualifying session of the weekend?

It’s clear how much the scandal is hurting Ron Dennis – from the aggrieved tone of his 3,000 word letter to Luigi Macaluso earlier this week, to the fact that he withdrew his drivers from media engagements this weekend to spare them interrogation about the scandal.

Does Briatore know something – or is he just twisting the knife?

Update: Briatore has since claimed that he did not directly call for McLaren’s exclusion. Speaking to Autopsort he said: “I never said they should be excluded. I said if you call the World Council, you have evidence that there is something wrong. If you don’t have evidence, why would you call the World Council? If you call the World Council it is because you have the proof that McLaren need punishing. If you call the World Council and you don’t have evidence, I don’t know why you’d call them.”

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Tags: f1 / formula one / formula 1 / grand prix / motor sport

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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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5 comments on “Briatore: ‘Throw McLaren out’ (updated)”

  1. At last some sense from FB…interesting….surely the WDSC should be rethinking their decision with so many ppl disagreeing.

  2. Just stiring trouble. Should be keeping his mouth shut before people start mentioning the cheating that went on on his watch.

  3. That Briatore, he’s a one, isn’t he? Sure knows how to stir the pot… :D

  4. Oh, Briatore backing Ferrari, that is a new one :-) Well, he knows how does it feel loosing a major asset of his team to McLaren…
    He may not know much about the case itself, but he apparently knows enough about Dennis himself to create this radical opinion on this matter …

  5. Using the argument Briatore puts forward BMW cheated as they were on the money in last winters testing in Barcleona and way ahead of the Mercedes F1 team – sorry I mean McLaren. Sounds like Briatore sour grapes

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