The FIA has revealed the reasoning behind its decision not to impose any penalty on Renault following the latest instalment of the Formula 1 spying row, insisting that there was a lack of evidence that the championship was affected.

The Regie was called to appear before the World Motor Sport Council after it was found that former McLaren employee Phil Mackereth had taken confidential information with him after switching teams in September 2006.

As a result, Renault was charged with a breach of Article 151(c) of the International Sporting Code, stating that it had 'unauthorised possession of documents and confidential information belonging to McLaren, including, but not limited to the layout and critical dimensions of the McLaren F1 car, together with details of the McLaren fuelling system, gear assembly, oil cooling system, hydraulic control system and a novel suspension component used by the 2006 and 2007 McLaren F1 cars' - a breach the Enstone-based squad admitted to.

However, the meeting of the WMSC found that three of the four drawings viewed by Renault engineers - including the fuel system and gear layout of the McLaren car - were of no use to the team, with the only one used by Renault relating to the so-called 'J-damper' in use by the Mercedes-powered squad.

However, 'fundamental misunderstandings' on the part of Renault into the workings of the system led the FIA to deem that an effect on the championship couldn't be established.

In reaching its verdict, the WMSC admitted that Renault had breached the rules in having information belonging to its rival, but stated that the matter was between McLaren and its former employee, with the FIA stating that it was only 'concerned with what Renault had access to or was influenced by as only this could have had an impact on the Championship'.

"The McLaren confidential information brought to Renault was in the context of an F1 engineer changing teams," the statement read. "It was not 'live' information in the sense that there is no evidence of a flow of current information between competing teams. After leaving McLaren, Mackereth had no further access to current or updated McLaren information. Nor is there any evidence that Renault encouraged Mackereth in any way to bring the confidential information from McLaren.

"The WMSC considered it significant that Renault approached the investigation with an open and transparent attitude. The WMSC also notes that Renault has co-operated fully with the FIA technical department's investigation.

"However, the WMSC notes with strong disapproval the fact that there were individuals of sufficient seniority within Renault who should have known that the drawings that Mackereth showed them contained proprietary confidential information. This organisational failing meant that they did not report the matter to their line managers as they should have done. Had they done so, the matter may have been brought to the FIA's attention at a far earlier stage.

"The WMSC has also taken into account that Renault has introduced a number of new measures with the aim of preventing a similar problem occurring again, and that Renault appears to have taken a pro-active approach in reforming and updating its practices, some of which were introduced before Mackereth's actions came to light.

"In these circumstances, although a number of very unsatisfactory elements were noted during the deliberations, in assessing the gravity of the breach, the WMSC concluded that there was insufficient evidence to establish that the information was used in such a way as to interfere with or to have an impact on the Championship.

"Taken together, these factors lead the WMSC to conclude that in the circumstances no penalty can be imposed.

"It should be noted that in the event of new information coming to light which calls into question the WMSC's conclusions in this decision, this matter may be re-opened by the FIA."

 

Comments

Loading Comments...