Renault's Formula 1 outfit has been found guilty of being in illegal possession of information belonging to another team, but the FIA has elected not to punish the French manufacturer over its misconduct.

An extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council was held in Monaco today to determine the Regie's fate, but contrary to that suffered by McLaren - whose data the case concerned and who themselves were heavily punished by way of an unprecedented $100 million USD fine and exclusion from the 2007 constructors' championship earlier in the year - it was deemed that this time no penalty was necessary.

'The World Council found Renault F1 to be in breach of article 151c of the International Sporting Code but imposed no penalty,' the FIA statement reads.

'Detailed reasons for this decision will be issued on December 7, 2007, and a transcript of the proceedings will be published as soon as possible thereafter.'

The announcement that Renault are not to be punished also seemingly paves the way for McLaren refugee Fernando Alonso to return to his former team, with whom the Spaniard won both of his two F1 world championships in 2005 and 2006. Had the decision gone against the manufacturer, many believe it would have pulled the plug on its F1 project entirely.

Indeed, in a further twist of irony regarding the F1 'Spygate' saga that has gripped the sport for much of the year - though for all the wrong reasons - it could be McLaren rather than Renault that again ends up paying the greater price.

One of the Enstone-based concern's key arguments was that McLaren's dossier highlighting the 'stolen' information - which was leaked to the media just under a fortnight ago - was factually incorrect. As a result of this, Renault has threatened to take its British rival to court on charges of defamation.

"A lot of very bad things have been said about us by McLaren in the last few weeks, very damaging," team principal Flavio Briatore told the Daily Express newspaper prior to today's hearing.

"We will be cleared and once the verdict is announced we will consider legal action. Our reputation has been defamed."

What's more, McLaren's 2008 car is to be minutely scrutinised by the FIA ahead of the 2008 campaign, so as to ensure it does not contain any information gleaned from arch-rivals Ferrari, the original thrust of the spying row.

To read the full story of the accusations levelled against Renault, click here

 

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