Fernando Alonso has hit out at reports that his source of “new evidenceâ€ in the McLaren-Ferrari espionage saga was a deliberate attempt to damage his team.
There is much speculation over the state of the relationship between Alonso and the McLaren team with many believing that the Spaniard has been very unhappy this season. With Alonso providing evidence to the FIA over the spying incident, many have questioned whether Alonso had ulterior motives to hurt the team and pave an easy way for him to leave McLaren.
Alonso has hit back at the suggestions and has stated it would be stupid to try and damage his team in any way. “I have been unfairly treated by the papers,â€ he explained. “I did not accuse the team I just replied to the FIA with honesty and professionalism.
“It is stupid to think that I might have replied to the FIA in order to damage the team, as I would do nothing but damage myself. You must not forget I am fighting for the championship. The FIA sent that letter to all the drivers, asking it we had anything on this matter. It was our duty to reply by sending what we had.
“There was no other choice I hope everyone understands that. Effects on the championship? We have lived with this story for two months and we have seen that there have never been repercussions on the race track.â€
The new evidence relates to email messages sent between Alonso and test driver Pedro de la Rosa. The messages are reported to contain some of Ferrari s set-up data, data which was obtained by chief designer Mike Coughlan.
De la Rosa will not be drawn on the issue, merely saying “I would love to speak but I can t, at least until September 13th.â€
McLaren are also not being drawn on the matter and will not comment until the hearing in Paris next Thursday. Coughlan himself is adamant that none of the confidential Ferrari information was used to improve the McLaren car and that he had only looked at the dossier “on only two or so intermittent occasions.â€
It appears that there may also be more evidence yet to come. It is rumoured that the FIA have been provided with information by the Italian authorities suggesting that Coughlan and Stepney were in constant contact through hundreds of text messages and telephone conversations more than have been acknowledged by either man, and many of which took place on race weekends and during test sessions.