APRIL 24, 2007
Toyota spies guilty
The long-running case against former Ferrari engineers Mauro Iacconi and Angelo Santini, who were accused of stealing Ferrari secrets and giving them to Toyota, has concluded at the Tribunale di Modena with Santini condemned to nine months in prison for industrial espionage and Iacconi facing 16 months in jail for receiving the information from Santini and passing it on to Toyota. Both sentences were suspended but both men say they will appeal the decision.
The case relates back nearly five years to the start of the 2003 season, when there were suggestions that Toyota was running a copy of the Ferrari design. Santini, who worked at Ferrari from 1995 until the start of 2002, had moved to Toyota, which was planning to use a second windtunnel called Aerolab, located at Bologna Sant'Agata, just up the road from Ferrari. This employed a number of former Ferrari engineers. The construction of the new windtunnel began around the same time and was completed by January 2005. It is now being used by Spyker after Toyota built a second tunnel at its Cologne headquarters.
Ferrari suspected that aerodynamic information had been stolen from Maranello and had ended up in the hands of Toyota engineers and so filed an official complaint. Police investigations led to police raids in both Italy and Germany in 2004 and charges were then made in 2005. The case went to court a year ago.
It is possible that German investigators will pursue others who may have been involved. The Cologne public prosecution service has charged former team principal Ove Andersson, chief designer Gustav Brunner and the team's head of aerodynamics Rene Hilhorst but they have not yet been indicted as the Germans decided to wait until the Italian court cases were over.
The appeal process will slow that down still further.
All of this will be watched closely by Red Bull and Spyker as the two quibble over drawings which Spyker obtained from Red Bull Racing.
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