Renault engineer Phil Mackereth, who has been suspended by the team thanks to his involvement in the latest espionage saga, was never meant to disclose the documents he took from McLaren to anyone else according to claims in the FIA transcript of the McLaren/Renault spy saga hearing.
Mackereth was called as a witness during the meeting and he explained that although he had taken the documents from McLaren, it was for personal reasons and he had not meant to share the documents with others. Drawings of McLaren s damper system were in fact left on his child s scrap paper file until he took them to Renault.
“When I collected the documents, there were several reasons,â€ Mackereth explained. “I wanted to pull together a record of my experience at McLaren. There was also some professional interest and insecurity. I had no intention of disclosing the documents to anybody or making something of them. It was a personal record for me.”
At the hearing, Renault lawyer David Philips made it clear that the engineer regretted what had passed. “When you see Mackereth, you will see a rabbit in headlights,â€ Phillips said. “He is a very unhappy, very guilty and very contrite man.â€
Renault technical director Bob Bell believes that there was no malicious intent behind Mackereth s actions and that he believed that the engineer s actions were just a silly, naive mistake. “Mr Mackereth is a very genuine and straightforward individual,” he said. “He is someone I would trust. He is someone with a high degree or respect within his peer groups. That is true within McLaren as it is in Renault.
“His actions in this situation were stupidity, naivete and a degree or recklessness – and little more than that. There is no malevolence; there is no intention to deliberately do wrong or to cheat. This is not in his make-up. He is very genuinely one of the most straightforward engineers operating in Formula One.”