Home - The Official Formula 1 Website Skip to content

Renault admit possession, deny use of McLaren data 09 Nov 2007

Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Renault R27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 13, Italian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Monza, Italy, Friday, 7 September 2007 Flavio Briatore (ITA) Renault F1 Managing Director.`
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, European Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Saturday, 21 July 2007 Fernando Alonso (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 is passed by Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) Renault R27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Bahrain Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain, Saturday, 14 April 2007 Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault R27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 10, European Grand Prix, Practice Day, Nurburgring, Germany, Friday, 20 July 2007

Following news that they are to appear before the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council to answer charges of unauthorised possession of confidential McLaren data, Renault have released a statement to clarify their position.

In it, the French team admit that an engineer, who joined from McLaren in September 2006, brought with him several computer discs containing technical spreadsheets and engineering drawing from his previous employers. This information was loaded onto the engineer’s computer and some of the material was shown to other members of Renault’s staff.

However, Renault claim that as soon as the team’s technical management found out about the confidential data, the FIA and McLaren were immediately informed and the engineer in question was suspended. An internal investigation was also carried out, the findings of which Renault believe prove that the information was not used to influence the design of their car.

The Renault press release in full:

Statement concerning the allegation against the ING Renault F1 Team regarding McLaren proprietary information

Following the notification of the FIA for the ING Renault F1 Team representatives to appear in front of the World Council, the team wishes to clarify the situation.

On the 6th September 2007 it came to our attention that an engineer (Mr Phil Mackereth) who joined the team from McLaren in Sept 2006 had brought with him some information that was considered to be proprietary to McLaren. This information was contained on old style floppy discs and included copies of some McLaren engineering drawings and some technical spreadsheets. This information was loaded at the request of Mr Mackereth onto his personal directory on the Renault F1 Team file system. This was done without the knowledge of anyone in authority in the team. As soon as the situation was brought to the attention of the team's technical management, the following actions were taken:

The information was completely cleansed from the team's computer systems and a formal investigation was started. We promptly informed McLaren of the situation and immediately after the FIA. Since then we have constantly and regularly kept McLaren and the FIA informed on all relevant findings. Mr Mackereth was immediately suspended from his position. The original floppy discs were impounded and sent to our solicitors for return to McLaren.

Our formal investigation showed that early in his employment with Renault Mr Mackereth made some of our engineers aware of parts of this information in the form of a few reduced scale engineering drawings. These drawings covered four basic systems as used by McLaren and were: the internal layout of the fuel tank, the basic layout of the gear clusters, a tuned mass damper and a suspension damper. Subsequent witness statements from the engineers involved have categorically stated that having been briefly shown these drawings, none of this information was used to influence design decisions relating to the Renault car. In the particular case of the tuned mass damper, these had already been deemed illegal by the FIA and therefore the drawing was of no value. The suspension damper drawing hinted that the McLaren design might be similarly considered illegal and a subsequent clarification from the FIA confirmed this based upon our crude interpretation of the concept.

ING Renault F1 Team have co-operated fully with McLaren and the FIA in this matter to the extent that the team has invited McLaren's independent experts to come and assess the team's computer systems and inspect the cars and the design records, to demonstrate that this unfortunate incident has not in anyway influenced the design of the cars.

ING Renault F1 Team have acted with complete transparency towards McLaren and the FIA, being proactive in solving this matter and we are fully confident in the judgment of the World Council.