Dear Mr Macaluso,

ARTICLE 151c OF THE INTERNATIONAL SPORTING CODE

I refer to your letter dated 30 July 2007 to Mr Mosley of the FIA and to Mr Mosley's reply to you dated 31 July 2007, both of which were published on the FIA website yesterday without McLaren being given any opportunity at all to comment on this exchange of letters.

In your letter to the FIA you state that you "find it quite difficult to justify how a team has not been penalised while it has been found in breach of clause 151c of the International Sporting Code." As it is apparent from your letter that you have only heard Ferrari's version of events, I would like to set the record straight and to explain to you in some detail why it was entirely fair that McLaren was not penalised and why it would in fact also have been fair if McLaren had not been found to be in breach of Article 151 c at all.

Since this matter first came to light, McLaren has been completely open with Ferrari and the FIA and has cooperated to the fullest extent in the investigation of the facts. At the hearing before the World Motor Sport Council, I and senior members of McLaren's staff gave evidence and were cross-examined by the Council and by Ferrari. We presented to the Council and to Ferrari all of
McLaren's relevant documentary records for consideration. All of this evidence was fully tested at the hearing.

Our evidence makes it completely clear that the true facts of this matter are as follows:

"Whistle blowing" in March 2007

In March 2007, Mr Stepney of Ferrari contacted Mr Coughlan and informed him about two aspects of the Ferrari car which he regarded being in breach of FIA regulations. Specifically, he told Mr Coughlan about a floor attachment mechanism and a rear wing separator, both of which could be and were seen on the Ferrari car prior to the Australian Grand Prix.

Mr Coughlan immediately told McLaren's senior management about Mr Stepney's allegations. McLaren took steps to confirm whether the allegations were true, and we concluded that they were. Accordingly we reported these two matters to the FIA, adopting the customary practice of asking the FIA Technical Department for their opinion.

As regards the rear wing separator, the FIA subsequently ruled that this was compliant with the Technical Regulations. However the FIA ruled that this floor device was illegal. You will appreciate the significance of this. As far as we are aware, Ferrari ran their cars with this illegal device at the Australian Grand Prix, which they won. In the interests of the sport, McLaren chose not to protest the result of the Australian Grand Prix even though it seems clear that Ferrari had an illegal competitive advantage.

Ferrari only withdrew the floor device after it was confirmed to be illegal by the FIA. Were it not for
Mr Stepney drawing this illegal device to the attention of McLaren, and McLaren drawing it to the attention of the FIA, there is every reason to suppose that Ferrari would have continued to race with an illegal car.

In the press, Ferrari have described the information which Mr Stepney provided to Mr Coughlan in March 2007 as being Ferrari's "confidential information". This is completely misleading. There is nothing confidential about the rear wing separator, which is immediately visible on the exterior of the car. As regards the floor device, Mr Stepney revealed that Ferrari was proposing to use an illegal device at the Australian Grand Prix and no doubt for the rest of the season. He acted properly and in the interests of the sport in "blowing the whistle" about this. No team can expect their employees to keep quiet if they suspect - correctly in this case - that their employers are breaching the rules of the sport.

Ferrari have also complained in the press that McLaren - and I in particular - should have disclosed to Ferrari that it was Mr Stepney who blew the whistle on their illegal floor device. They also criticise me for entering a gentlemen's agreement in April 2007 about how to conduct technical complaints without revealing that it was Mr Stepney who made the disclosures in March. For reasons which must be obvious to anyone fair minded, I reject these criticisms absolutely. I did not think it correct to disclose the name of the whistle-blower to Ferrari as it is not in the interests of Formula 1 for members of teams to feel that they cannot disclose instances of illegal activity without risking their name being disclosed to their employer. It is in the interests of Formula 1 that whistle blowing is encouraged and not discouraged. If team members think that their identity will be revealed they will not whistle-blow.

What McLaren did do was to take steps immediately after learning of the contact between Mr Stepney and Mr Coughlan in March 2007 to ensure that Mr Stepney and Mr Coughlan ceased having any contact. Whilst we saw nothing wrong with Mr Stepney whistle-blowing on Ferrari's illegal activities, we felt that it was not helpful for him to choose Mr Coughlan to blow the whistle to. We did not feel comfortable with a disgruntled Mr Stepney being in contact with Mr Coughlan. For this reason in March 2007, immediately after the Australian Grand Prix, Mr Coughlan was instructed by his superior Mr Neale to cease contact with Mr Stepney.

In summary, faced with clear information that Ferrari was proposing to use an illegal device, McLaren acted entirely properly, indeed we acted with considerable restraint. If any criticism is to be made, then I suggest that you should reflect carefully on the conduct of your licence holder, Ferrari, which appears to have won the Australian Grand Prix by racing with an illegal device.

 

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