McLaren will appear before an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council today to answer charges relating to the ongoing spy row surrounding chief designer Mike Coughlan.

Ferrari has accused Coughlan and wife Trudy of stealing technical information, after the latter was said to have taken a 780-page Ferrari document to a photocopying shop to be reproduced.

That information may have come from Ferrari's ex-head of performance Nigel Stepney, who was dismissed from his role at the start of July and was then named by the Scuderia as the source of the suspected leak just a day after McLaren announced it had suspended a 'senior employee' - later named as Coughlan - over obtaining information from a rival team.

McLaren boss Ron Dennis has maintained that his team was completely unaware of any wrong-doing prior to the information being found at Coughlan's home and said none of the data in the document found its way into the design or development of its race-winning MP4-22.

Stepney has also denied all accusations.

However, McLaren will now go before the FIA in Paris to answer charges relating to 'fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally'.

"Representatives of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes have been requested to appear before an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Thursday, July 26, 2007," a statement issued by the sports governing body read on July 12.

"The team representatives have been called to answer a charge that between March and July 2007, in breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes had unauthorised possession of documents and confidential information belonging to Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, including information that could be used to design, engineer, build, check, test, develop and/or run a 2007 Ferrari Formula One car."

McLaren meanwhile responded on the same day, issuing their own counter-statement to say that they were 'extremely disappointed' with news of the summons.

If found guilty by the sports governing body, McLaren could face a variety of charges, including a big fine, points deductions or even exclusion from the championship. However, if that does happen, the Woking-based outfit will have the right to go before the FIA's Court of Appeal.

More to follow as it happens...

 

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