JULY 12, 2007

McLaren reacts to the FIA

McLaren has put out a statement saying that it is "extremely disappointed to note that it has been asked by the FIA to answer a charge of being in possession of certain documents and confidential information belonging to Ferrari".

The team says that despite this disappointment it will continue to cooperate fully with the FIA but wishes to "make it very clear that the documents and confidential information were only in the possession of one currently suspended employee on an unauthorised basis and no element of it has been used in relation to McLaren's Formula 1 cars".

The statement does not say that the information was not seen by other McLaren employees, as is being claimed in various media outlets around Europe.

The FIA statement earlier in the day raised one or two interesting questions as it included a rather longer period of time than expected, mentioning March to July. All previous suggestions have been that Coughlan received the data from Ferrari at the end of April. This suggests that the FIA knows more than it is letting on about when Coughlan began receiving Ferrari information and implies that McLaren's chief designer may have received more than one delivery of information rather than the full 780 page document arriving at one particular moment.

The only possible explanation for this is that the federation has had access to Coughlan's affadavit. When asked if this was the case, an FIA spokesman said "no comment".

The FIA says that the reason there was no action taken against Toyota over a similar question was because there was no complaint in that case, while in this case Ferrari has made a complaint. This is an odd explanation as the FIA's job is to regulate the sport and it should not need a complaint in order to take action if it feels that action is necessary.