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FIA accepts McLaren apology over Ferrari data 13 Dec 2007

Pedro De La Rosa (ESP) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22 Test Driver Formula One Testing, Barcelona, Spain, 14 November 2007. World © Bumstead/Sutton (L to R): Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer, Norbert Haug (GER) Mercedes Sporting Director and Ron Dennis (GBR) McLaren Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Saturday, 6 October 2007 Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren Mercedes MP4/22.
Formula One World Championship, Rd15, Japanese Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Fuji Speedway, Fuji, Japan, Saturday, 29 September 2007

McLaren admitted on Thursday that an FIA investigation has revealed Ferrari data to have been more widely disseminated within the British team than they had previously thought. McLaren's move follows their receipt of a report produced by the FIA’s technical department concerning the squad's 2008 car.

In light of the report’s findings, McLaren have offered to ‘impose a moratorium on development in relation to three separate systems’- quickshift, fast fill, and the use of CO2 as a tyre gas - in order to ensure that there is no possibility of Ferrari information inspiring the design of their new challenger.

Following McLaren's public apology and undertakings, FIA President Max Mosley has asked the members of the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) for their consent to cancel the hearing into the report scheduled for 14 February 2008 and, in the interests of the sport, to consider the matter closed.

McLaren also published a letter, sent by Chief Operating Officer Martin Whitmarsh to the Council, in which the team apologise ‘unreservedly’ for the failure of their own internal inquiry and offer to suspend development on parts of their 2008 car which could have been influenced by confidential data from their rivals.

McLaren’s statement in full:
“As a result of the investigations carried out by the Federation Internationale de l'Automobile it has become clear that Ferrari information was more widely disseminated within McLaren than was previously communicated. McLaren greatly regrets that its own investigations did not identify this material and has written to the World Motor Sport Council to apologise for this.

“McLaren has written a letter to the FIA which in the interests of transparency it is publishing with this press statement. That letter speaks for itself and the sentiments expressed in it are sincerely held by McLaren. McLaren has also written to the World Motor Sport Council to apologise that it has taken an FIA investigation to find this information and have expressed our deep regret that our understanding of the facts was improved as a result of the FIA inspection rather than our own investigations. McLaren has recognised that this entire situation could have been avoided if we had informed Ferrari and the FIA about Nigel Stepney's first communication when it came to our attention. We are, of course, embarrassed by the successive disclosures and have apologised unreservedly to the FIA World Motor Sport Council.

“To avoid even the possibility of Ferrari information influencing our performance during 2008, McLaren has offered a set of detailed undertakings to the FIA which will impose a moratorium on development in relation to three separate systems. During the course of these incidents, McLaren has conducted a thorough review of its policies and procedures regarding the recruitment and management of staff. The proposals arising from this thorough review have been disclosed to the FIA and McLaren has agreed to demonstrate that all of these policies and procedures have been fully implemented.

“McLaren wish to make a public apology to the FIA, Ferrari, the Formula 1 community and to Formula 1 fans throughout the world and offer their assurance that changes are now being made which will ensure that nothing comparable to what has taken place will ever happen again. McLaren have also agreed to pay the costs incurred by the FIA for their investigation.

“McLaren now wishes to put these matters behind it and to move forward focusing on the 2008 season.”

To read the full letter sent by McLaren to the FIA, click here.

To read the report by the FIA Technical Department to the WMSC, click here.