Ferrari s â€˜Skeleton in the closet
It has been reported that Kimi Raikkonen testified at last week s espionage hearing that McLaren eavesdropped on Ferrari s team radio whilst the Finn was at McLaren. Jean Todt, boss of Ferrari, explained that Raikkonen s evidence was to counter a claim made by McLaren that Ferrari had snooped on them.
“Kimi Raikkonen made a witness statement about radio communications from his former team,â€ Todt explained. “And maybe one word about that – have read so much about the â€˜skeleton in the closet for Ferrari; the big surprise about what might have happened over the last 10 years. The skeleton which was submitted was radio communication.â€
Top Formula 1 teams encrypt their radio communications between the driver and the team to help protect information from their rivals. However Jean Todt revealed that is was common for teams to hack into their rival s communications.
“I have to admit that we listen to certain car radios,â€ he continued. “Kimi testified that it was a common practice in his former team from 2002 to 2006. When our lawyer asked one of their witnesses if it was true that they listened to the radio, the reply was in the affirmative.â€
Montezemolo praises copy shop
Meanwhile, Luca di Montezemolo is singing the praises of the copy shop assistant who alerted the Ferrari team to the fact that top secret documents were being copied.
“It s a perfect victory,â€ Montezemolo said. “I want to thank Raikkonen, Massa, Todt and all these guys. I want to dedicate it to our fans who believe in the fairness of the sport and to this English gentleman who, in the month of June, wanted to inform us that someone linked to an opponent team entered into his shop and asked him to copy dozens of pages containing technical information about our car. Without him, it would never have been possible to shine the light on to one of the worst pages in the history of motor sport.â€
Todt hints at continuing legal action
Meanwhile, Jean Todt believes that the punishment doled out to McLaren was â€˜very soft and he is unhappy with the penalty that was handed out.
“It is very difficult to say we are happy we are unhappy,â€ he explained. “Something which was very important after the hearing of 26th of July if you are guilty, you must be penalised. Our main competitor has been recognised, after new evidence, guilty, and has been punished with a soft penalty, losing points for the manufacturers championship. If you get deeply into all this sad story, you realise that it is a very soft sentence which we respect.â€
Todt went on to explain that Ferrari are not celebrating the fact they have won the constructors championship quite yet as McLaren may appeal the punishment, and if they win the appeal, they may also win the championship. However, Todt is also not ruling out the chances of the McLaren drivers being thrown out of the championship if the appeal goes ahead, paving the way for either Raikkonen or Massa to take the drivers championship.
“I think it will be very important to see if they make an appeal or not because if there is a chance of them doing the appeal, I think it will change quite a lot the drivers situation,â€ Todt remarked. “So then, probably the appeal will be judged before the Japanese Grand Prix and we may not be facing a completely different situation. Before we know about the appeal, it s not something I am going to comment on further.â€
Todt has also hinted that Ferrari will press on with legal action against McLaren in England.
“What does matter is the interest of the team,â€ he continued. “Considering the civil case in England, the penal case in Italy, it was nothing to do with the FIA and it is not of our responsibility in Italy. It is up to the judges who have the matter to cover. I know that our president dedicated this success to our supporter, who had the idea of informing us about those stolen documents, but fortunately we had somebody loyal and fair, who helped us in that and we don t have any reason to stop any legal action.â€