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Ferrari Furious Over FIA Verdict

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  FIA, Ferrari

Ferrari Furious Over FIA Verdict

Anthony Fontanelle
July 28, 2007

The spying scandal which Bernie Ecclestone called as ‘nonsense’ reached its climax as an emergency World Motor Sport Council was called by the FIA, the ruling body of Formula One. During the council, McLaren was asked to answer allegation that they have used Ferrari technical details to gain advantage over the Italian team. After the deliberation, McLaren was found guilty of having in possession secret Ferrari technical details.

“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,” said FIA President Max Mosley. "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 while the team was found guilty of that charge, the team will not be punished by the FIA due to the fact that no evidence was presented to show that there is no shadow of a doubt that McLaren used the Ferrari technical specs on their cars. But the FIA pointed out that once evidence surfaced that shows that the British team is guilty of using Ferrari specs on the McLaren cars, the team can face tough punishments not only for the 2007 season but also for next year.

Scuderia Ferrari is obviously furious with the decision of the FIA not to punish McLaren. The team argues that the non-punishment of McLaren 'legitimises dishonest behaviour in F1 and sets a very serious precedent'.

“The Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team has been found to be in breach of article 151c of the F1 Sporting Regulations and to have therefore behaved in 'a fraudulent manner and therefore in a manner prejudicial to the interests of competition or motor sport in general,” a statement from Ferrari stated.

Ferrari would have become the leader in both constructors’ and drivers’ championships if McLaren was penalized for having the documents. Although McLaren denied that the data was seen by any team members except the suspended Coughlan, Ferrari asserted that the possession of the documents should have incurred punishment for the McLaren team.

According to the statement released by the Italian Formula One team: “Ferrari notes that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has been found guilty by the FIA World Council. It therefore finds it incomprehensible that violating the fundamental principle of sporting honesty does not have, as a logical and inevitable consequence, the application of a sanction.”

The McLaren duo of Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso currently leads the Ferrari pair of Felipe Massa and Kimi Raikkonen. Hamilton and Alonso may have been expelled from the championship race if sufficient evidences were presented to the council. But since the FIA maintained that evidence is lacking, the McLaren drivers will continue their quests for the championship on their MP4-22 with Mercedes-Benz engine, the same makers of Mercedes-Benz clutches and other auto parts.

The pair is obviously relieved by the turn of events. “Having only been part of McLaren for a few months I know how important today's decision will be for everybody,” said Alonso on an interview after the release of the verdict. “I am looking forward to an exciting second half of the season now and to continue our battle for both World Championships.”

Championship leader Hamilton, meanwhile, has this to say: “Whilst it's only my first season in Formula 1 with the team, I already know and appreciate the commitment and dedication of the people there. As a result I am pleased with today's decision and can't wait for the rest of the season.”

Source:  Amazines.com

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