AUGUST 1, 2007
Ferrari board gives Todt the power
The Ferrari board met in Maranello yesterday and discussed the situation regarding Nigel Stepney, Mike Coughlan and McLaren and gave its permission for Jean Todt to "initiate and continue any necessary legal action, in the name of the company, in addition to those legal actions already under way in every legal, civil, criminal, administrative, sporting jurisdiction be it, in Italy or abroad".
It is not clear why this decision required a press statement as normally internal discussions at Ferrari are not made public and it is blatantly obvious that Todt intends to try to prove the Ferrari claims against McLaren in some kind of court.
However, there is also no doubt that the press release adds to the impression that Ferrari is milking this situation for all it is worth.
The current strategy could backfire if McLaren gets through the various legal processes without any penalties. The team may then turn on Ferrari and take legal action for damaging the McLaren image. McLaren has already referred to its discontent in yesterday's press statement which mentioned "a thoroughly misleading press campaign by Ferrari".
McLaren is very protective of its reputation and image and thus Ferrari is treading on dangerous ground. Unless, of course, it has convincing evidence to back up its various claims.
One thing that is clear is that the current fight is creating a new level of bitterness between the teams - and that cannot be a good thing for F1.
The good news is that the press will be allowed to attend the FIA Court of Appeal and thus much more can be reported about the case. Putting ALL the evidence into the public domain will give everyone a better idea of the real issues in this case. McLaren has scrupulously avoided giving away anything, apparently to ensure that any legal process will not be prejudiced. Ferrari denies leaking information to the Italian media.