Thursday, July 26, 2007

McLaren escape penalty

FIA World Motor Sport Council has decided not to penalise McLaren for suspended chief designer Mike Coughlan's possession of Ferrari documents. Although the WMSC found the Woking-based outfit in breach of the sport's rules through Coughlan's actions, it concluded that the team has not used the information to its advantage.

Thus it supports McLaren's claims that none of the technical data was used to benefit the MP4-22, which has won half of this season's races. The FIA World Motor Sport Council produced the following statement after this afternoon's hearing:

"The WMSC is satisfied that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes was in possession of confidential Ferrari information and is therefore in breach of article 151c of the International Sporting Code. However, there is insufficient evidence that this information was used in such a way as to interfere improperly with the FIA Formula One World Championship. We therefore impose no penalty. "

"But 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."

The WMSC's findings support McLaren's avowal that Coughlan and Nigel Stepney acted alone and the council now calls upon them to defend their actions with a view to suspending them from working in motorsport.

The statement coninued: "The WMSC will also invite Mr Stepney and Mr Coughlan to show reason why they should not be banned from international motor sport for a lengthy period and the WMSC has delegated authority to deal with this matter to the legal department of the FIA."

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