According to sources in Spain, Fernando Alonso would be free to leave McLaren should the Woking team be found guilty in the ongoing espionage scandal currently engulfing Formula One.

Although opinion is split regarding the outcome of this week's hearing into the matter - with suggestions that McLaren could be hit hard, financially and/or points-wise, or exonerated completely - has revealed that there could be even bigger 'penalty' for Ron Dennis' outfit should any blame be laid at its door.

Sanctions, should the team be found culpable of benefiting from Mike Coughlan's decision accept a 700-page dossier of information from a Ferrari insider,could range from a heavy fine, via the loss of all constructors' championship points, to the stripping of all points in both the teams' and drivers' championships, leaving Alonso and current leader Lewis Hamilton with nothing to show for their five wins and consistent podium appearances this season. However, it is now being alleged that the two-time world champion could be free to leave McLaren should his image be damaged by the team's involvement in the scandal.

Although Dennis has repeatedly claimed that nothing contained in the Ferrari technical package has appeared on the MP4-22 -which returned to winning ways with Alonso at the Nurburgring on Sunday - paddock rumour claims that the FIA has enough proof that the information has been used to throw the book at the Woking operation.

Central to these claims is now what may have been used on the car, but the fact that McLaren successfully launched a protest against the flexible floor introduced by Ferrari at the start of the season - something cynics say would not have been possible without back-up information detailing the part - based on email conversations between Coughlan and Ferrari's Nigel Stepney.



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