Spy brief errors corrected by McLaren

At the request of the FIA, McLaren has released a statement correcting several ‘factual errors in a leaked briefing document that claimed Renault had gained a ‘clear benefit and unfair advantage in the latest espionage saga to rock Formula One.

The World Motor Sport Council are meeting today and will see Renault answer charges of possessing intellectual property belonging to McLaren and therefore breaching Article 151c of the International Sporting Code which refers to ‘any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition of the interest of motorsport generally.

The leaked briefing suggested that Renault s part in the espionage scandal could dwarf McLaren s espionage charges charges which saw McLaren found guilty and handed a $100 million fine along with exclusion from the 2007 constructors world championship.

However McLaren have now said that only nine Renault employees rather than the original figure of 18 are under suspicion of seeing the confidential McLaren data brought to Renault in September 2006 by engineer Phil Mackereth.

McLaren have also said that a back-up of the information was made to an ‘unknown number of servers and backup devices rather than the 11 computers that was originally stated.

The full statement reads:

“The FIA has asked us to correct certain factual errors contained in a press briefing given on our behalf by one journalist concerning Renault F1 and we are pleased to do so. The corrections are as follows.

“In our briefing, we stated that there were 18 witness statements from Renault employees admitting that they had viewed McLaren confidential information.

“To the extent that this implied that 18 different Renault employees admitted viewing McLaren confidential information it was inaccurate. 13 Renault F1 employees provided 18 witness statements and 9 of them have so far admitted they viewed and discussed the confidential technical information belonging to McLaren.

“We stated that the confidential information on computer disks was uploaded onto 11 Renault computers.

“This is not accurate. Mr Mackereth copied information onto 11 computer disks. The information on these 11 computer disks was uploaded by Renault IT staff in September 2006 onto Renault’s T: drive and then transferred by Mr Mackereth to his personal home directory stored on Renault’s network server. A back up copy of the material on Mr Mackereth’s personal directory was made onto an unknown number of Renault’s back up servers/tapes.

“Our briefing could have been interpreted as suggesting that the Renault employees who admitted sight of McLaren Confidential Information all viewed it on computer screens.

“Only Mr Mackereth and Mr Hardie admit viewing McLaren Confidential Information on Mr Mackereth’s computer. The other seven employees who have admitted seeing McLaren Confidential Information admit seeing it in the form of computer print outs or hard copy documents. We said that the information on the 11 computer disks taken by Mr Mackereth included 780 individual drawings.

“This was an error. The information taken by Mr Mackereth on floppy disks, in hard copy form and by email amounts to 762 pages when printed out. The 11 computer disks included 18 individual technical drawings. Mr Mackereth also admits that he took hard copy drawings of McLaren’s dampers.

“We said that the McLaren information amounted to the “entire technical blueprint of the 2006 and 2007 McLaren car”.

“This requires clarification. The position is that, the McLaren drawings plus the information in a confidential MP4 – 22A Specification document taken by Mr Mackereth constitute a technical definition of the fundamental layout of the 2007 McLaren car and the technical details of its innovative and performance enhancing systems.

“We are pleased to assist the FIA in making the above clear in advance of tomorrow’s hearing.”