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WMSC: Renault didn’t gain advantage from McLaren data 07 Dec 2007

Giancarlo Fisichella (ITA) Renault R27.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Magny-Cours, France, Saturday, 30 June 2007 Flavio Briatore (ITA) Renault F1 Managing Director.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 8, French Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Magny-Cours, France, Saturday, 30 June 2007

The FIA issued a statement on Friday detailing the reasons behind the World Motor Sport Council’s (WMSC) decision not to impose a penalty on Renault, despite finding the team in breach of the International Sporting Code for possessing confidential technical data belonging to McLaren.

The Council agreed not to punish the French squad, during Thursday’s hearing in Monaco, after concluding 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’.

Although the FIA’s investigation found that former McLaren engineer, Philip Mackereth, did leave the British team for Renault with confidential data, only 111 of the 762 pages of information contained McLaren data, and only four technical drawings were ever distributed to other members of the French team.

In its judgement, the Council decided that three of those four drawings, detailing McLaren’s fuel system schematic, gear box assembly and damper designs, were shown by Mackereth to several other Renault employees, but that all three were ‘either of no use to Renault or were in fact not used’.

The fourth drawing, which depicted McLaren’s ‘J-damper’, was also reviewed by Renault, but was only used by the French team for an attempted FIA rule clarification not with the intention of copying the design.

The WMSC concluded that: “The McLaren confidential information brought to Renault was in the context of an F1 engineer changing teams. 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 statement also revealed that the Council had been critical of 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’, but had praised Renault for its ‘open and transparent attitude’ to the investigation.

Recent steps taken by the team to prevent a similar problem occurring again were also acknowledged but that statement did note that if fresh evidence comes to light, the matter could be re-opened by the FIA.

For the full statement concerning the Council’s judgement, click here.