Although he maintains that the team was unaware of large areas of evidence presented to the World Motor Sport Council in the second 'spygate' hearing, McLaren team boss Ron Dennis has revealed that he reported some anomalies to the FIA himself.

Speaking after the governing body had revealed details of the case against his team, Dennis remained adamant that McLaren had not used any part of the 'misappropriated' Ferrari technical dossier to gain a competitive advantage, but admitted that he had contacted the FIA to report the existence of 'new evidence'.

"It's been recognised that McLaren has been open, co-operative and transparent throughout the entire process," he said in a four-paragraph statement issued at the Belgian Grand Prix, "I want to stress that, once I became aware that new evidence might exist, which I did on the morning of the Hungarian Grand Prix, I immediately phoned the FIA to keep them informed."

Although it is not clear what evidence Dennis was referring too, sources claim that it could have been the e-mail and text message communications between drivers Fernando Alonso and Pedro de la Rosa, in which the pair discussed areas of knowledge that could only have come from leaked Ferrari information. Alonso reportedly requested talks with Dennis on the morning of the Hungarian race although, at the time, many took these to be about the separate controversy that had beset the team in qualifying.

It transpires, however, that the 'talks' degenerated into a row in which Alonso threatened to expose his knowledge of the Ferrari dossier - via e-mails on his personal computer - unless McLaren backed him as its 'number one' in the battle for the championship. Refusing to be blackmailed in such a manner, it appears that Dennis decided to reveal the existence of the correspondence to the governing body himself, paving the way for the second hearing at which the team was stripped of its constructors' points and fined $100 million.

Ironically, the drivers escaped without sanction - having been granted immunity in exchange for evidence - although Alonso's position within the team must surely have been further damaged by his confrontation with Dennis. It now seems impossible that the Spaniard can remain at Woking beyond the end of the season - if, indeed, he makes it that far - and almost certainly will not receive any different treatment to Lewis Hamilton in their head-to-head for the title.

 

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