Leaked dossier outlines McLaren case against Renault ‘spying’

2007 F1 season

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A leaked dossier detailing McLaren’s case against Renault in F1’s new spy case has been published by PA Sport.

It alleges Renault had access to the entire technical blueprint for the 2006 and 2007 McLaren F1 cars.

Among the claims are suggestions that Renault had 780 (isn’t that a familiar number?) technical drawings of the McLarens.

The document states that:

[There were] 18 witness statements in which Renault F1 employees admit that they viewed confidential technical information belonging to McLaren on a total of 11 computers owned by Renault F1.

Papers in the document say that in March 2006, 33 files of confidential technical information belonging to McLaren were copied on to 11 floppy disks, which were loaded on to Renault F1’s computer system in September 2006.

The dossier says the 33 files contain more than 780 individual drawings outlining the entire technical blueprint of the 2006 and 2007 McLaren F1 cars.

The files were uploaded on to 11 Renault F1 computers, and were discussed by up to 18 Renault F1 personnel, including a group of senior engineering chiefs and heads of department within Renault F1, according to documents in the dossier.

McLaren released a statement that said:

It is clear that McLaren’s confidential design information was knowingly, deliberately and widely disseminated and discussed within the Renault F1 design and engineering team, thereby providing them with a clear benefit and unfair advantage.

McLaren also criticised Renault’s response to the investigation. It claims Renault staff had a “cavalier attitude” during the investigation and that some of its their responses were “incomplete”, “misleading” or “incorrect”. Phil Mackereth’s (the technician originally charged with obtaining the McLaren data) claim he kept some McLaren information for “sentimental reasons” is described as “absurd”.

Renault face a hearing of the World Motor Sports Council on December 6th to determine whether it breached Article 151c of the FIA International Sporting Code: “fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally.”

This is the rule under which McLaren were thrown out of the 2007 Constructors’ Championship and had to pay a $100m fine.

Were a second team to face a similar punishment within such a short space of time it would be a major blow to the reputation of Formula 1.

Photo: LAT Photographic

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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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24 comments on “Leaked dossier outlines McLaren case against Renault ‘spying’”

  1. This looks bad, worse than the McLaren thing – there seems to be some proof at least…

  2. I guess that explains why Fernando hasn’t signed up for the Renault seat yet then!

  3. Definetly more information than anything disclosed during the ferrari v mclaren case on the face of this information they can only be either banned for 2008 or made to use the last seasons car – but if they had this information itdoesnt seem to have helped them much – and can you see any rival team not use the information??

  4. I do not think the reputation of F1 would be hurt too much, in general everybody even blogs :-) enjoy anything they can write and talk about …

    but it remains to be seen how will Reanult’t top brass react to McLaren scale of punishment … I am not sure Ghosn will be too happy …

  5. I agree with you up to a point Milos (I’m certainly not complaining about the extra traffic!) but what if Renault were to get the same punishment as McLaren? Or worse?

    People have already begun drawing comparisons (rightly or not) between this sort of thing and drug taking in cycling. If the general public forms the impression that all the F1 teams cheat by spying on each other, then it could be very damaging.

  6. Mclarens words are not to be trusted. Its proven time and time again this year.Now since their Brazil appeal was dismissed..they gotta find another reason rite?

    “Baker and McKenzie also contend that Renault has responded to the affair so far with a ‘cavalier attitude’, and that its explanations have been ‘incomplete’, ‘misleading’ or ‘incorrect’. Mackereth’s assertion that he kept the McLaren information for ‘sentimental reasons’ was slammed as ‘absurd’ by McLaren.”

    Again Hypocrisy at its best. As far as it goes, Renault had done a better job at handling this. Disgusted.

  7. Is that you, Flavio?

  8. lol Keith :D

    I believe Flavio did say “if it is the same [McLaren vs Ferrari], I sue!” – I might have to find that reference again… I have to say, I do like Flavio, he’s about the only Team Boss that makes me laugh.

    On paper, thats is the details published, it looks more substantial than McLaren vs Ferrari.

    However, I wonder if the FIA’s punishment for McLaren was also means tested. That is, did they award the given penalty not only to set a precedent, but to a team that can actually afford it? McLaren proclaims it earns 4-5 times that per year, and that the penalty will be offset against any monies earned through Constructors had they not been DQed.

    Yes, there are knock on effects, such as being down the other end of the pitlane etc., but you couldn’t hand the same penalty to a lesser team because, well apart from the fact the cars and assets will next be found on ebay, you’d have 2 less cars on the grid next year – and that would be bad.

    And, the FIA are inconsistent. It wouldn’t really surprise anyone if Renault got a much smaller penalty than McLaren would it. But, by justification of being able to compete again, would it be inline?

  9. The general impression amongst those I know is that F1 is rife with spying anyway. I’m not sure this would make a big difference. In a way it might make it possible to say that F1 has had a spring clean and the FIA are now taking the matter more seriously?

  10. Seems like McLaren are sabotaging Alonso’s drives for next year.

  11. Wait a second– Renault uses floppy disks???

  12. How can it sabotage Alonso’s drives for next year when he hasn’t said where he is going – or what it will cost whoever it is – maybe Flavio thinks he can get a discount for his services?
    Also wasn’t this reported before Alonso was released that Renault were being investigated?
    and speaking of Alonso is this the longest he has never had anything to speak about/complain?

  13. i’m not buying this for a second. 780 isn’t just familiar, it’s a deliberate attempt by mclaren to draw a comparison with their own troubles.

    the perfect number to grab the media’s attention.

    didn’t ron say during mclaren’s trial that an entire blueprint of an F1 car amounted to more than 80,000* documents? yet today it’s only a couple of hundred?

    *i forget the exact figure and the FIA website isn’t allowing me to download them again. i was much higher than 780 though.

  14. The penalty should never be adjusted to the felon’s ability to pay. The fine is based on the gravity of the offense, and Maxipad’s open hatred of Ron has now boxed himself into a similar penalty for Renault.

    Don’t forget, the FIA never found any Ferrari info on the McLaren data base, and the McLaren data was on multiple computers of Renault for over a year. The penalty for Renault should be more, not less than what McLaren were slapped with.

  15. George for christ sake on what grounds You think this is much serious then 1st spygate?

    What kind of argument is that info was found on multiple computers on Renault…what is the diff. if it was stored on one or more computers…it was available…
    and whether some unfair advantage is to have been gained or not is the only relevant information scrutinners are looking for…
    For Your info, Ferrari’s data were printed out and found in Coughlan posession(other staff member were aware of that posession and …proven on 1st hearing…)
    Does it mean according to Your logic that if Renault uses electronic format it is automatically ofense but
    if McLaren uses printed format it is not?
    Try to find FIA verdict on McLaren-Ferrari case and You will all see what was proven on 1st and what on the 2nd hearing…then You will see that on the later it was proven that McLaren tested using Ferrari’s data…
    Does anyone of You know in what way all these technicians got in touch with McLaren’s data?
    Did they test something or they were just aware
    that one employee brought uselles info from McLaren…
    This kind of explanation helped McLaren on 1st hearing…
    In the mean time can somebody tell the british press to be more specific over source of info ,since this kind of source previously suggested 3 CDs,and now I see there are 11 floppy disks… very consistent and reliable…
    I am disappointed that You allready give verdicts without hearing a word form Renault…this does not belong to 21st century…this is more like Wild West..

    Anyway..whatever will be,this is by no means similar to the McLaren Ferrari case,this is almost identical as Ferrari Toyota plus that it is still not revealed
    if these data were of any relevance…
    I read FIA verdict from the 1st affair and I must say that this will be very important

  16. “33 files contain more than 780 individual drawings outlining the entire technical blueprint of the 2006 and 2007 McLaren F1 cars” on (11 * 1.44)=15.84 MB! Is this possible? Is it a soapbox car that McL is building?

  17. sidepodcast excellent point…

    another thing to be discussed is why McLaren did not take immediate action if they believed that Renault is in posession of important data…

    They went to public exactly on the eve of their 2nd hearing,and they started whole case quite late…

    Another thing is that this is regular in F1…and Renault will easilly prove(as Newey stated yesterday)
    that..and as last line of their defence they can open
    many similar cases…

    In McLaren Ferrari case,McLaren employee got info from
    Ferrari employee,and the rest of the McLaren staff tried to benefit from it…

  18. you no what? us as people ove this sort of stuff!!! im one of these peoplebecause i love to see the fights and struff that happen before the formula one season starts! so there for this wil 100% not spoil the f1 world!!!!!

    less than 120 days to go!!!!! WWOOOOOHHOOOOO

    i cant wait! :)

  19. ozzy, you have missed the entire point our fearless leader Max has set. The FIA, under dear Max’s prodding, whacked McLaren NOT for using the Ferrari data or ideas, but for simply having POSSESSION of same. They have also set up McLaren for further penalty if any Ferrari “Ideas” show up in their 2008 car. We know how that will turn out, don’t we.

    McLaren only found out about the Renault situation when a former Renault staffer came to work for McLaren and ratted out Renault.

    That hypocrite Flava-Flav was ready to jump on McLaren’s bones for their “sins” but now wants foregivness for his own sins?

    As they used to say in the 60’s “no justice, no peace”! And finally ozzy, your right about one thing; this is in no way similar to the Ferrari spygate affair, it’s much worse.

  20. Ooo George…sorry..I did not recognize You at the very
    first moment…You are that George:-)

    Try to read this…


    It is not very lenghty,and it is from the known source…

    And this former Renault staffer…his days in F1 should be numbered…he dug his own grave…
    He should have whisttleblown at the moment he realized
    something improper is going on…meaning,during his
    work at Renault…as Stepney…
    What strikes me the most is that his arrival to McLaren coincides with the 2nd McLaren’s hearing…

    Soon we will know much more…6th of December is not
    far future

  21. okay, just managed to check back on the FIA transcripts from earlier this year. this is what ron dennis had to say when trying to play down the significance of a 780 page dossier:

    “Any F1 car falls between 10,000 and 12,000 drawings. That leaves out tooling and all of the other components.”

    now the boot’s on the other foot, 780 images are suddenly “the entire technical blueprint” of two years worth of car development.

    gotta love that man.

  22. Hi, I guest there maybe soem truth in this morning. Mclaren stole Ferrari design which made them competitive this year. They lost because they were running two one man teams within a team.

    Renault may have stole McLaren designs/info and that could explain why they were crap this year. They should have stole Ferrari data. Maybe stick to their own deisgn which worked well in 2005 and 2006.

  23. The problem with that explanation, hob4bit, is no-one has proven that any aspects of the Ferrari design actually ended up on the McLaren.

    You couldn’t pick two more conceptually different cars on the entire grid – look at how McLaren dominated on tight tracks like Monte-Carlo while Ferrari stretched their legs on fast courses like Spa and Silverstone.

    Furthermore, the 2007 McLaren was completed months before Stepney started handing data to Coughlan. That’s why the FIA wanted to inspect the 2008 McLaren…

  24. Keith, agreed, that the car is made much earlier. However, there is a development cycle. The car at the end of the year, is NOT the same as it begins the year. They did speak about using at a test the gas that Ferrari used to inflate tyres and what not(most of which, we’ll never know, unless someone rats out Macca). They also discussed possibilities of testing weight distribution in simulators(this is there in the mails published, PDR & FA). That benefits this years cars, if not to a large extent, then to a certain extent. Its something that’s not really quantifiable. Ofcourse, 2008 cars are suspect and rightly so. Difficult to prove that used the information, but, engineering solutions are often ideas. They did buy/accept STOLEN intellectual property. Intentions can’t be all holy then, can they?

    I agree, that it is to do with the fundamental difference in approach, that Macca are faster in slow stuff and Ferrari are faster in medium-high speed circuits. I would still put my money on Macca having advantaged.

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