During an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris today, McLaren have been told to expect ‘exclusion’ from both the 2007 and 2008 Championships should ‘Ferrari information’ be used by the team. The team were found in breach of article 151c of the International Sporting Code but escaped any form of punishment which would affect their 27 points advantage.
“The WMSC is satisfied that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes was in possession of confidential Ferrari information and is therefore in breach of article 151c of the International Sporting Code. However, there is insufficient evidence that this information was used in such a way as to interfere improperly with the FIA Formula One World Championship. We therefore impose no penalty”, said the FIA Press Release.
“But if it is found in the future that the Ferrari information has been used to the detriment of the championship, we reserve the right to invite Vodafone McLaren Mercedes back in front of the WMSC where it will face the possibility of exclusion from not only the 2007 championship but also the 2008 championship.”
However, the fate of both the Ferrari and McLaren employees who exchanged confidential Ferrari information looks certain. The FIA will further explore the roles in which Ferrari’s Nigel Stepney and McLaren’s Mike Coughlan took during this debacle, and if found guilty, will face lengthy bans from all forms of motorsport.
“The WMSC will also invite Mr Stepney and Mr Coughlan to show reason why they should not be banned from international motor sport for a lengthy period and the WMSC has delegated authority to deal with this matter to the legal department of the FIA.”