Championship leaders McLaren have accused Ferrari of running an illegal car at the beginning of the 2007 season and making â€˜grossly misleading statements in the espionage scandal that is still ongoing in an attempt to tarnish the reputation of McLaren.
It is the first time since the spying saga began that McLaren have publicly released their detailed version of events. Ron Dennis has chosen to do so in a long letter to Luigi Macaluso of the ACI, the full version of which is available on the McLaren website.
Dennis has defended his team saying that their only knowledge of confidential information was that which was leaked by former Ferrari employee Nigel Stepney regarding the illegal floor device Ferrari ran at the Australian Grand Prix. Dennis said that Stepney acted in the interests of the sport by bringing the matter out into the open and McLaren, also acting in the interests of Formula 1, chose not to protest the result of the Australian Grand Prix, even though Ferrari won because they had an illegal competitive advantage. Dennis also claimed he told Coughlan not to contact Stepney again, however they met up in Barcelona on April 28th.
Dennis feels that Ferrari have gone to â€˜extraordinary length to try to maximize the damage to McLaren since it was discovered that Coughlan was in possession of confidential Ferrari information. He has ruled out anyone else within the team being aware of the dossier, and has denied that any Ferrari details have found their way into the design process.
“McLaren s reputation has been unfairly sullied by incorrect press reports from Italy and grossly misleading statements from Ferrari,â€ Dennis wrote. “It would be a tragedy if one of the best world championships in years was derailed by the acts of one Ferrari and one McLaren employee acting for their own purposes wholly unconnected with Ferrari or McLaren.”