Mosley proposes halt to McLaren spy investigation

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Max Mosley has proposed that the proceedings regarding McLaren’s possession of Ferrari intellectual property be brought to a close following McLaren’s public apology earlier today.

This comes following the publication of the FIA’s technical report which casts new light on how McLaren engineers were planning to use the material obtained from Ferrari’s Nigel Stepney by Mike Coughlan.

Much of the technical report is censored and although it is possible to make educated guesses about some of the sections that have been censored (thanks to the FIA’s earlier publication of the September hearings transcripts in which the censored portions were readable) large amounts of it are virtually unreadable.

It notes that McLaren engineers had discussions about the Ferrari wheelbase and referred to the information that had come from Stepney. But the report states that although McLaren have increased the wheelbase of their car for 2008 as basic information about the Ferrari’s wheelbase was in the public domain it was not necessarily a result of the information they had obtained.

Regarding the use of a special tyre gas the report says:

We believe the general investigation by McLaren of the use of [censored*] establishes further dissemination of confidential Ferrari information to engineers within McLaren which has influenced their work on the 2007 and 2008 cars.

*the censored portion most likely refers to CO2.

It refers to several individuals as “Senior McLaren Engineers” without identifying them and states they were aware confidential Ferrari information had been obtained from a “mole”.

The report also refers to several unidentified systems that it claims McLaren is developing for its 2008 car following their discovery in the Ferrari documents. Presumably these are the quickshift, fast fill, and CO2 tyre inflation developments that McLaren has since proposed it will cease work on.

It suggests the team will be considerably inconvenienced in the developments of the MP4/23 ahead of the 2008 season. Perhaps that is why earlier this week Lewis Hamilton had this to say:

The only concern I have is that the concentration and determination of the team is not affected – and I know it won’t be. I just hope the team keep in mind that we still are the best.

In McLaren’s statement issued earlier today the team said, “It has become clear that Ferrari information was more widely disseminated within McLaren than was previously communicated.”

That might more accurately have read: “It has become impossible to deny that Ferrari information was more widely disseminated within McLaren than was previously communicated.”

Photo: DaimlerMore on the McLaren-Ferrari spy investigation

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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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15 comments on “Mosley proposes halt to McLaren spy investigation”

  1. So can we assume that Max instigated the apology in the first place in order to tie up the loose ends of this matter.

    While I refuse to believe McLaren have done anything that any other team has never done I cannot accept that a car that the WMSC experts think is at least suspicious should be allowed to race because the team apologised. So now you can race a 5 litre engine so long as you apologise?

    I expect this is the first step in Max backing out of his court case against the Sunday Times. I expect him to spout some nonsense along the lines of the WMSC are taking this action to bring the matter to a close.

    This is getting very suspicious.

  2. max, doing something right?

    do my eyes deceive me??


  3. This could actually spell more trouble for Max in his libel suit against Martin now that McLaren has apologized.

    It means that the McLaren spying case is as serious as the Renault spying case. The punishment must fit the crime in both cases.

    So where’s the punishment/penalty for Renault?

    This may not be a weakness on McLaren’s part but in fact they may be taking the higher moral ground in their legal argument.

    Max & the FIA are stuck!

  4. Let’s not forget that McLaren’s punishment came only after the appeal… The first veredict was the same for both teams, but McLaren didn’t appeal on Renault’s case.

  5. That’s right, Daniel. So basically, in terms of the libel suit (which hasn’t been filed yet, as far as I know), the FIA has not really gained or lost anything yet.

  6. At least they admitted it. I had no conviction of otherwise.

  7. Mosley got what he want. He pushed McLaren to the corner and then surprisingly McLaren admitted what he wanted them to admit …

  8. basically its the little boy saying sorry to the old man for kicking his football into his garden and asking for the ball back so he can play again – I dont see any more wrong doing than co2 mix in the tyres? – heat up quicker? – such a waste of time money and still the ferrari team are baying for blood in the court – the lawyers must be laighing all the way to the bank – max is still off his trolly anyway as this could have been resolved by a behind closed doors meeting months ago if he was any kind of leader/adjudicator

  9. I just wonder what majority of people here would say, if it were Ferrari, who were caught, instead of McLaren? Would it still be a waste of time to pursue it legally? Would it still be FIA’s witch-hunt? Would it still be FIAren Mercedes? Also, i would like to hear Lewis’s opinions on how his beloved team were wronged, again.

    Could this be what Alonso was advising Dennis about by saying, “should learn the importance of silence!” Of-course, i believe FA got wrongly bollocked by a majority of us. If you’ll believe me, believe this, that i was not a major fan of his! McLaren made him a hero pretty much, with their sharp daftness :P in the rest of the world. How many still would brand him a traitor? They, Ron & McLaren were criminally stupid all this while.

    I think Ferrari IP which McLaren, now possess and will race in ’08(albeit with no development on those parts), is an unfair advantage. They have every right to take whom so ever guilty to court and claim punitive damages. F1 is a competitive business, where they fight over a matter of fraction of seconds. McLaren perhaps gained more than a second, dare i say, in an underhanded fashion. Ferrari are the aggrieved party, taking actions within their rights.

  10. Sorry.. when i said Fiaren Merc.. i was wanting to say… FIArri, you know what i mean…

    error is regretted

  11. This makes me think that there is significant use of Ferrari intellectual material being used on the `08 McLaren, but Max doesn’t want them excluded from the `08 championship.

  12. I can’t wait for Ferrari’s comments on the latest developments. Why are they so quiet?

  13. One guess will be that everyone would then fire them again for implicating McLaren, when they are owning up to mistakes. It will be said that they can’t look past it. Ferrari though is taking legal actions further, but, as of last announcements have stopped actions through the FIA. If am asked my opinion, i think this whole premise is flawed. Macca gets to use Ferrari info with an apology, it is a farce. They rightly so, as Mosley claimed after 2nd trial, should have been thrown out for 2008 as well. Driver’s should not be allowed to compete as well in Macca. They could race, if they would for other teams. However, it would be unfair, to the other drivers who are driving out there with all their skills and race craft. Here are 2 guys clearly in a car which is illegal(well, not pronounced yet, but it is).

  14. sri – ive got a solution for you so you dont have to watch teams who spy on ferrari and dont get unfair advantages – they are going to race 600bhp plus no driver aids and low aerodynamics to aid overtaking – the 24 customer cars that ferrari are introducing in A1GP – pick youre nation and enjoy – then you wont be upset too much – season 2008/9 – by the way designing these cars wouldnt be helpful to ferrari in the design of a new F1 low downforce – low aerodynamic – no driver aids car in the slightest would it?

  15. I love Ferrari/Schumacher fans. They never let the facts interfere with their reality. So McLaren have admitted some guilt. No more that Renault but the punishments don’t exactly balance. Nigel Stpney in an open letter to Max said he was getting McLaren info in return but for some reason the FIA won’t investigate this. Bias?

    Toyota had two of their ex-Ferrari employees jailed in Germany for taking data. The FIA won’t investigate that either.

    Nigel Stepney who was responsible for ensuring Ferrari’s cars were legal told senior management that the car they designed at the start of the season was illegal. They told him they were going to race it regardless. So he told the FIA but they took no action. So he told McLaren and they ‘requested clarification’ but the car still passed scrutineering and raced and won. Then it was found to be not quite within the rules but Ferrari kept the points and Raikkonen won the driver’s championship as a result of that and the mysterious fuel temperature case.

    Clearly the FIA is a fine upstanding institution which judges each case on its merits with no bias.

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