JULY 31, 2007
Ferrari gets an appeal
Ferrari has been given the right to appeal to the FIA International Court of Appeal, following a letter from Luigi Macaluso, the head of the Italian national sporting authority CSAI, to Max Mosley. Macaluso, who was in the news last week claiming that he was in favour of Ferrari at the World Council but later being revealed as having voted for no punishment for McLaren, said that Ferrari should have the right to an appeal because of the serious nature of the case and the fact that Ferrari was not allowed an active involvement in the recent World Council meeting.
This has been granted by the FIA.
Max Mosley's letter in reply to Macaluso goes through elements of the case and lists a number of suspicions about McLaren, none of which could be proved at the World Council. Given that Macaluso obviously knows all the details of the case, having sat through six hours of the World Council, it is odd to include all this information in the letter, particularly as all the information listed will be taken up and quoted widely. The FIA says that the details were included to try to explain why the decision was taken given the level of criticism that there has been of the FIA. There is a possibility that this will be interpreted as the FIA feeding the fires around McLaren, which is probably not what the federation needs in a case where it is important to be seen to be scrupulously objective.
McLaren has reponded angrily to the news.
"Following a thoroughly misleading press campaign by Ferrari and pressure from the Automobile Club d'Italia, the FIA has asked the FIA International Court of Appeal to consider the unanimous decision made by the World Motor Sport Council on 26th July 2007," McLaren said. "Having considered in great detail the full submissions of both Ferrari and McLaren, the World Motorsport Council determined that there was no evidence that any information, passed by a Ferrari team member to a McLaren employee, had been brought into the organisation or provided any benefit whatsoever to the McLaren programme.
"McLaren is not aware of any new information or arguments that have arisen since the meeting of the World Motor Sport Council and therefore assumes that these same materials will now be considered by the FIA International Court of Appeal. Whilst this is both disappointing and time-consuming, McLaren is confident that the FIA International Court of Appeal will also exonerate McLaren and we will in the meanwhile continue to focus on our current World Championship programme."
The move buys Ferrari time in which McLaren will continue to be under pressure and painted in a bad light, while at the same time giving the Italian team time to reach agreement with Mike Coughlan and Nigel Stepney in the hope that they can be persuaded to provide more evidence against McLaren.
If sufficient evidence existed, Ferrari would already have gone to court.
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