Jean Todt refuses to let Formula One's espionage row lie, despite the fact that Ferrari has been handed the constructors' crown and chief rival Mclaren slapped with a hefty financial penalty.

Confirming that the Scuderia was pressing ahead with its legal actions against the central figures in the case, the diminutive Frenchman also took time out to point the finger at McLaren boss Ron Dennis, claiming that he could not possibly have escaped knowledge of the dossier passed from Nigel Stepney to Mike Coughlan.

Explaining that Ferrari's lawyers would consider the next step in the cases against Stepney - to be heard in an Italian court - and Coughlan, who is being pursued through the British judicial system, Todt admitted that the latter case could be expanded to include third parties, although he did not name names.

"It is the worst thing that could have occurred for F1 and the sport," he told Spain's El Pais newspaper, "Unfortunately, I have been wrapped up in the matter, but as the victim."

Asked whether Fernando Alonso should have been punished for his part in the row - the Spaniard exchanged emails with test driver Pedro de la Rosa, who was in touch with Coughlan and had knowledge of the Ferrari data - Todt admitted that the matter went deeper than the drivers, and he was particularly scathing about his opposite number at McLaren for the way in which the spy row had been handled.

"Many people know what has occurred because the FIA has decided to make public some documents and to penalise McLaren," he continued, "But the fault is not of Alonso, but of his employers. This story should have closed immediately, not after 100 days.

"I do not know if McLaren has anything copied from Ferrari, but it is not so much what they could carry over but the fact that they knew all about our cars and our plans. It should be like playing poker - you cannot know my cards, neither I yours. If you know them, you will beat me, but not in a correct way. Of course, we pay attention to what others are doing but, when you hire an engineer from another company you have a certain advantage but, if he arrives with documents under his arm, you would be better to return him to its previous business. I left Peugeot in 1993 with empty pockets - all I carried with me were some of the employees that worked with me. But that is very different to using information, as occurred in this case.

"Dennis did approach us to reveal that some things had been filtered [to McLaren], but that he did not know what - that is a pathetic excuse. They knew all the details of our routine work, and not just specific things on our car and our strategy. And they were known by many people in the team. It is absurd to say that he did not know anything of the 780-page dossier, of the e-mails and of the espionage. It is unacceptable.

"They have lost the constructors' championship, but it is clear that the drivers had an advantage. For me, though, it is not important to win, but that everyone knows the truth."

 

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