Flavio Briatore fended off questions suggesting that his Renault team could yet be embroiled in an espionage scandal akin to that which saw Mclaren stripped of all points and slapped with a $100 million fine on Thursday.

Rumours have been circulating that Briatore had been notified by Mclaren boss Ron Dennis that a former employee at the Woking team had taken sensitive information with him when he joined Renault. The Swiss publication Blick named the individual as Phil Mackereth, and suggested that he had taken details of the MP4-22's electronic and cooling systems to Enstone, where they had been used to design and develop the R27 being raced by Giancarlo Fisichella and Heikki Kovalainen. Briatore, however, was quickly on the offensive when asked about the issue in Friday's FIA press conference..

"First, if somebody tells me it's the same [situation as Mclaren], I sue somebody - quickly," he fired back, "Second, it's not an investigation regarding myself and the team. Third, we give all the information to the Federation, at least when we found out something. That is it, it's as simple as that."

The flamboyant Italian also claimed that the stories were confusing the matter at hand following the week's World Motor Sport Council hearing.

"I don't think that, in this case, McLaren said to bring this case in the World Council," he said, "There was no confusion, there was just the fine for McLaren, but it was important to try to take rocks [sic] in the direction of everybody. It's as simple as that. I think McLaren was judged by the World Council, and there was enough evidence to find McLaren guilty, it's as simple as that. I don't want, at this moment [to talk] about Renault because, first, we are not being investigated and, second, we give all our evidence to McLaren and to Mr Mosley and to the Federation."

Asked if he felt the judgement handed down by the WMSC would help Fernando Alonso to find his way back to Renault for 2008, Briatore again played dumb, suggesting that the two matters were unrelated.

"This decision was made by the World Council, it's a decision made whether I like it or not," he claimed, "It's a decision made by the World Council and it's nothing to do with Alonso. The fact that the World Council made its decision, I guess everybody here accepts the decision and we go on with the business. I don't believe for one second that the decision made yesterday will influence Alonso, drivers or us. It has nothing to do [with us]."

 

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