OCTOBER 20, 2007
Court action in Italy
It is perhaps worth noting that we have heard in the recent days that McLaren has instigated legal action in Italy against Ferrari for alleged illegal use of Italian legal documents in the FIA World Council meeting in September.
The matter was raised at the World Council by the McLaren lawyer Ian Mill QC who said that "we have concerns that those documents may have been obtained improperly". The documents in question were confidential files of the police, in relation to the potential prosecution of Mike Coughlan and Nigel Stepney.
"If they are used today, they will be so for a purpose entirely unconnected from that," Mill argued. He went on to point out that Ferrari had applied to the Italian prosecutor to be allowed to use the documents and that permission was refused and warned the court that McLaren reserved its rights to take legal action.
Max Mosley said that "the World Councils only concern is whether that list is accurate and truthful. We are not concerned with whether there are issues over how that is obtained. Unless there is evidence that it is forged or inaccurate, we will take it on its face value. We do not enter a debate
about Italian law; we have neither the time nor the skills for that."
Mill pointed out that being invited by Ferrari to draw inferences from the documents "may create serious problems" in the future.
What those problems may be remains to be seen but if the FIA World Council made a decision based on illegally-acquired evidence there is obviously the potential for legal action against the decision that was made.
While the offtrack action will drag on for months - or at least until some kind of compromise is cobbled together - the fervent hope of the fans is that the World Championship is settled on the race track without external interference. It does not matter who is the World Champion so long as the result was arrived at in a fair and sporting fashion.