A member of the Toyota Formula One team has been detained by German police amid suspicions that he may have handed the team classified information gleaned during a previous period of employment with world champions Ferrari.

Many experts claimed that this year's TF103 bore a striking resemblance to Ferrari's all-conquering F2002, but most put the similarity down to its designers working from observation at races and test sessions. This may now prove to be only part of the case.

Toyota confirmed that investigators, commissioned by an Italian court and backed up by German police, had visited the team's Cologne factory and questioned the man, who was employed in the aerodynamics department, about the allegations he had 'stolen' information from Ferrari which was subsequently used in the design and development of the TF103.

"He was briefly questioned and they looked at his computer," Toyota's Andrea Ficarelli confirmed to Reuters, "He resumed his work normally the next day.

"The company is not subject to any investigation - the investigators simply wanted to talk to this man, who happens to work for us. This has nothing to do with Toyota and, for that reason, we will not make any further statement."

Ficarelli also said that it was unlikely that the employee would be disciplined over the matter.

"There will not be any sanctions from Toyota against the man because, from our side, his behaviour is absolutely correct," he explained.

 

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