Red Bull Racing team chief Christian Horner has said that Formula 1 teams will always have to rely on the integrity of staff members to ensure that there is no repeat of the spying scandals that dogged the 2007 season.

Both McLaren and Renault found themselves up before the World Motor Sport Council during the campaign, with the former being hit with a record $100 million fine and excluded from the constructors' championship after being found guilty of being in possession of confidential Ferrari documentation that had been passed from Nigel Stepney to Mike Coughlan.

Renault was also found guilty of being in possession of McLaren data that had been taken to the regie by engineer Phil Mackereth when he switched teams although no penalty was handed down by the FIA as there was a 'lack of evidence that the championship was affected'.

That situation, of an engineer moving from one team to another, is commonplace in the paddock - with Red Bull's own former technical director Mark Smith having recently joined Force India.

However, Horner said it was simply a fact of life that people will switch teams and he saw no reason why there should be concerns over data sharing every time a technical team member changes employers.

"With seven Formula One teams based within an approximately 80-mile radius in the United Kingdom it is inevitable that staff move from team to team," he told Formula1.com when asked if the spying row would lead to an investigation whenever a leading engineer moves teams. "While they may take knowledge in their head, they are certainly not permitted to take any intellectual property or designs to another team and we have relevant processes in place to ensure that this doesn't happen.

"Mark Smith's departure was agreed back in the summer, prior to any involvement in the RB4, and we rely on the integrity of individuals, such as Mark, not to disclose any confidential intellectual property, in the same way that he didn't when he joined us from Renault."

 

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