For part one, CLICK HERE

4 New Evidence - Communications between Coughlan and Stepney

4.1 The evidence put before the 26 July WMSC meeting indicated that a limited number of contacts had occurred between Coughlan and Stepney. Coughlan's affidavit (submitted in the context of the High Court Proceedings) identified a number of such contacts and described incidents where specific Ferrari confidential information was transferred to him. The WMSC considered these contacts but had no specific evidence of further or other contacts. The focus at the 26 July WMSC meeting was on the circumstances surrounding the transmission of the 780 page Ferrari dossier discovered at Coughlan's home.

4.2 New evidence has come to light which strongly indicates that the transmission of confidential Ferrari information from Stepney to Coughlan was not limited to the 780 page dossier. This evidence demonstrates that a far greater level of communication existed between Coughlan and Stepney than was appreciated at the 26 July WMSC meeting. This evidence was submitted by Ferrari and is deemed credible as it originates from the Italian police and is the result of an official analysis of records of telephone, SMS and e-mail contacts between Coughlan and Stepney. The evidence included the following.

4.3 In its report "Allegato 18", the Italian Police demonstrated that in the period 21 March to 3 July 2007, Coughlan received 23 calls from Stepney's personal mobile phone and made four calls to that phone. In the same period, Coughlan received 124 SMS messages from Stepney and sent 66 SMS messages to Stepney.

4.4 In its report "Allegato 9" the Italian Police have identified logs which show 23 emails passed between Coughlan and Stepney between 1 March and 14 April 2007.

4.5 In its report "Allegato 10" the Italian police have identified a further 98 SMS messages and a further eight telephone calls (on different phones) between Coughlan and Stepney between 11 March and 14 April 2007.

4.6 In total, at least 288 SMS messages and 35 telephone calls appear to have passed between Coughlan and Stepney between 11 March 2007 and 3 July 2007.

4.7 The number of contacts increased considerably during private tests carried out by Ferrari in Malaysia at the end of March 2007 and in the run up to and during the days of the Grands Prix in Australia on 18 March 2007, Malaysia on 8 April 2007, Bahrain on 15 April 2007 and Spain on 13 May 2007.

4.8 The evidence of the Italian police that has been produced also states that Stepney sought technical details from Ferrari's chief mechanic, Mr Uguzzoni, about tests carried out by Ferrari in Malaysia in a way that drew attention within Ferrari at the time.

4.9 In addition, e-mails between McLaren drivers were produced to the 13 September WMSC meeting (see above) stating clearly that Coughlan had received information from Stepney regarding the Ferrari car and had passed this information to others within the McLaren team.

4.10 Neither Ferrari nor McLaren have ever disputed (whether at the 26 July WMSC meeting or since) that confidential Ferrari information was passed from Stepney to Coughlan during the period in question. However, the new evidence regarding the number and timing of the contacts makes it far more likely that there was a systematic flow of Ferrari confidential information to Coughlan leading to the conclusion that the illicit communication of information was very likely not limited to the transmission of the Ferrari dossier discovered at Coughlan's home on 3 July 2007. This conclusion is corroborated in the e-mails exchanged between McLaren's drivers (see above).

4.11 McLaren stated in its submissions for the 13 September WMSC meeting that this new evidence on the number and timing of the communications merely confirmed what was already known: that Coughlan and Stepney were illicitly sharing Ferrari confidential information. It has also been suggested by McLaren that Coughlan and Stepney were acting on their own account and that possibly they were planning to seek new employment together elsewhere.

4.12 Without drawing a definitive conclusion on this point, the WMSC considered that it was difficult to reconcile this version of events with the number and timing of the contacts described above as if Coughlan and Stepney had simply been sharing information to facilitate a plan to search for new employment there would appear to be no particular reason for the contacts to have intensified around the tests and the Grands Prix and no reason for Coughlan to share information with McLaren's drivers. Rather, it appeared more likely that the information being exchanged related to those tests and the Grands Prix.

4.13 Further, in light of Coughlan's role within the McLaren team, it had seemed unlikely to the WMSC at the meeting on 26 July 2007 that Coughlan himself would have been able to make any direct or immediate use (whether personal or within his role at McLaren) of up to date information relating to the Ferrari car at the site of different Grands Prix. However, as detailed above, at the 13 September WMSC meeting, the WMSC heard new evidence to suggest that this was not the case and that Coughlan had, in fact, communicated to at least one McLaren driver statements from Stepney of which lap the Ferrari drivers would stop at during both the Australian Grand Prix and the Bahrain Grand Prix. These communications between Coughlan and at least one of the McLaren drivers coincided exactly in time with some of the most intense period of contact between Coughlan and Stepney described above.

4.14 In the absence of another explanation, in light of the number and timing of the communications between Coughlan and Stepney and the e-mail exchanges between the McLaren drivers (see above), the WMSC regards it as reasonable to infer that Coughlan was in receipt of a flow of confidential Ferrari information from Stepney and that at least some of that information was communicated to others within McLaren (e.g. Mr. de la Rosa and Mr. Alonso).

4.15 In sum, the new information on the number and timing of the contacts between Coughlan and Stepney inevitably had an impact on the WMSC's appreciation of the nature of the contacts between Coughlan and Stepney, on its appreciation of the emails between the drivers and on the likelihood of Ferrari confidential information received by Coughlan having an influence on his work with McLaren.

5 Coughlan's Role at McLaren

5.1 McLaren's submission made for and at the 26 July WMSC meeting indicated that Coughlan had a relatively limited managerial role and that it would not be possible for him to propose ideas without having to explain their provenance. In McLaren's submission, this demonstrated that, despite having detailed Ferrari technical information, Coughlan could not have used any of this information to benefit McLaren without a significant number of people at McLaren knowing. McLaren submitted statements from a number of its engineers that those engineers were not aware of changes made to the McLaren car using confidential Ferrari information.

5.2 The submissions made for the 13 September WMSC meeting show that that Coughlan may have had a more active role in the design of the McLaren car than previously appreciated by the WMSC.

5.3 The WMSC does not have evidence that any complete Ferrari design was copied and subsequently wholly incorporated into the McLaren car as a result of Coughlan passing confidential from Stepney to McLaren. However, it is difficult to accept that the secret Ferrari information that was within Coughlan's knowledge never influenced his judgement in the performance of his duties. It is not necessary for McLaren to have copied a complete Ferrari design for it to have benefited from Coughlan's knowledge. For example, the secret Ferrari information cannot but have informed the views Coughlan expressed to others in the McLaren design department, for example regarding which design projects to prioritise or which research to pursue. The advantage gained may have been as subtle as Coughlan being in a position to suggest alternative ways of approaching different design challenges.

6 Evidence of Mr. Neale

6.1 At the 26 July WMSC meeting (and the evidence was repeated at the hearing of 13 September) it was noted that Coughlan had revealed to his superior at McLaren, Mr. Neale, that Stepney had attempted to pass secret Ferrari information to Coughlan. A firewall was set up at the instigation of Mr. Neale to prevent further contacts from Stepney and Coughlan was directed to cease contact with Stepney. Within a matter of weeks thereafter, Coughlan attempted to show some photographs to Mr. Neale which, according to Mr. Neale himself, because of the manner in which they were produced, suggested to Mr. Neale that they should not have been in Coughlan's possession. Rather than establish the facts and take appropriate action as his superior at McLaren, Mr. Neale advised Coughlan to destroy the photographs. Coming as soon as it did after McLaren had been required to install a firewall and had directed this same employee to cease contact with a known source of Ferrari confidential information, the WMSC notes that it is very unsatisfactory that no further action was taken to investigate this matter further and make appropriate disclosures to the FIA as regulator.

For part three, CLICK HERE

 

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