FIA president Max Mosley has suggested that McLaren could be forced to start the 2008 Formula 1 season on a negative points score if there are found to be any Ferrari ideas in its design.

The Mercedes-powered team was excluded from the 2007 constructors' championship and hit with a $100 million fine after the World Motor Sport Council found it to be in possession of confidential Ferrari information - which had been passed to chief designer Mike Coughlan by disgraced Ferrari employee Nigel Stepney.

As part of the verdict, the FIA announced that it would also be keeping a close eye on McLaren's 2008 car to ensure that none of the data found in the Ferrari documentation makes it onto the new machine, with Mosley admitting that points could be taken away if 'outside experts' deem there to be intellectual property belonging to Ferrari on the MP4-23.

"That was in the hands of the chief designer at precisely the moment he was designing the 2008 McLaren," Mosley told the BBC. "The difficulty we have is that you're not going to find on the McLaren a part that was designed by Ferrari.

"What you may find are ideas and at this level of technology at this level of motorsport, if the idea is given to the chief designer he will make a component utilising that idea which bears no relation at all to the component perhaps being used by the other car.

"So we will be looking for the ideas. The investigation will be thorough, it will use outside experts and we will do everything we possibly can to make sure that either of the McLarens has no element of Ferrari intellectual property in it or if it does we will then have to consider taking some sort of action.

"That would not necessarily be preventing them from running. It would be more likely that they would be given a negative point allocation.

"Finding something will not be easy. On the other hand, there are sources we are going to deploy who will give us as good a chance as its possible to have to find it."

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