Montezemolo & Theissen disagree on McLaren’s exclusion

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McLaren’s exclusion from the constructors’ championship was a just punishment according to Ferrari president Luca di Montezemolo – but BMW team principal Mario Theissen doesn’t think his team really were second in 2007.

McLaren could have been world champions this year had they not had all their points confiscated after being found guilty of bringing the sport into disrepute.

Here’s how Theissen and Montezemolo saw it:


This year, in our view, we are third. We were handed second place, but that doesn’t really count.


It was the season of venom; we’ve seen people lying, people improving the performance of their cars in an unsporting manner, we’ve seen our work distracted on to trying to find irrefutable proof of this unfair behaviour.

We’ve gone through some bad and difficult times, but the worst was when there was the verdict from the FIA world council, an absurd verdict that acknowledged there was unfairness but this unfairness was not highlighted in the decision.

In the end we’ve got a double satisfaction. What we had said was confirmed, the lie was unmasked.

Perhaps this is just Theissen being pragmatic and Montezemolo being triumphant. On the other hand, perhaps even the boss of a leading F1 team wasn’t convinced that McLaren used and benefited from Ferrari’s intellectual property?

Renault face a similar hearing on Thursday, charged with possessing McLaren’s intellectual property. If they were to suffer the same punishment it would elevate Williams to third in the constructors’ championship.

Photo: BMW Media

More on the Mclaren-Ferrari and Renault-McLaren spying investigations

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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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12 comments on “Montezemolo & Theissen disagree on McLaren’s exclusion”

  1. It seems to me that Theissen was just being pragmatic. But it would really be interesting if he could expand on that statement a bit. If he felt that the McLaren cars were actually illegal, surely he would have objected more strongly? As would have everyone else, I guess.

    On the other hand, I’m surprised to see that Luca referred to the verdict as “absurd”? Where did that come from? Aren’t he and Max buddies or something? Max panders to this guy because why? Of course, Luca’s right about the verdict, but I don’t agree with his reasons.

  2. I think Montezemolo was saying he felt it was unfair McLaren were found guilty but their drivers were not excluded.

  3. yes, the only problem Ferrari had with the verdict was that drivers could continue …

  4. True. I guess I was just expecting him to be a little more circumspect in his criticism.

  5. I think actually Luca may have been talking about the first verdict in that statement, where McLaren weren’t really punished but it was still acknowledged that they were guilty. He then goes on to talk about the successful appeal. At least, that’s how I read it.

  6. In the middle part of Montezemolo’s quote he is talking about the first verdict. Regarding the second verdict he has also said:

    “The verdict was unacceptable. It created a precedent that allows the absurd principle whereby a jockey races with a doped horse and in the end he wins anyway.”

  7. I think that theissen was being diplomatic – not wanting to be dragged into this subject – the other is just a moaning italian – they want everything because they are ferrari – we should be kissing the ground they walk upon – sorry but the verdict rightly or wrongly has ben made – the sooner that this renault enquiry is completed and wont we be surprised if they are fined as much as cclaren was – we can look forward to next season – you know the more they complain the stupider they appear and the less we care

  8. I take it that Montezemolo’s comments were a translation? Either in his head or on paper, I don’t think he got his point across like he wanted.

    I do like the horse analogy, I must say I have to agree with it, its pretty clever, weather or not ‘the horse was doped’ofcourse.

  9. I think Dr. Mario was speaking as a true sportsman, he would rather gain his laurels on track as opposed to default. After the shambles that Ron has created out of McLaren my rooting interest will now be based out of Munich as opposed to Woking.

    No doubt that McLaren deserved punishment for their transgressions and to what extent may be debatable; but the wild statements from Luca and Todt have turned the prancing horse into a braying jackass. I hope to hear the same level of hyperbole directed at Renault come Thursday.

  10. My two pence worth……I don’t think McLaren ever got to use any of the Ferrari data. They may have been in possession of it, may have been analysing it but I don’t see any evidence it was ever used. This happens everyday in regular commerce, a disgruntled employee takes data to his next employer, what’s the big deal? The cars were not found to be “illegal” in anyway and should NOT have been disqualified. The other side of the argument, if they were “illegal” then Alonso and Hamilton should NOT have been allowed compete in them. These two statements make sense, what the WMSC and FIA did makes NO sense!

  11. Keith, I’m afraid you got it wrong. Dr.Theissen isn’t voicing concerns about the penalty dished out to McLaren being right or wrong; he means to say that his team is still only the third best in his view-eventhough the results put them as the second-as third is what they got on track.

  12. I think quite simply Mario has a thing in his contract with BMW which expects performance improvement each year. He had said before that his plan was to be a solid 3rd place this year, challange for second place 08, be a solid second place 09 and challange for 1st place in 2010.

    I think he’s just sending a message to his bosses to not count their chickens. He’s simply managing expectations.

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