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Defiant Dennis maintains Ferrari data was not used 13 Sep 2007

Ron Dennis (GBR) McLaren Team Principal.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 11, Hungarian Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Budapest, Hungary, Saturday, 4 August 2007

McLaren boss Ron Dennis has expressed his frustration at the punishment handed out to his team on Thursday, maintaining that the Ferrari data found in the possession of suspended chief designer Mike Coughlan was never utilized by the team.

In a lengthy statement issued after the FIA’s decision to fine McLaren and strip them of their 2007 constructors’ points, Dennis insisted his team did not deserve such a penalty and claimed that the World Motor Sport Council hearing had failed to prove a case against them.

He said he could only speculate as to why Coughlan had amassed the Ferrari information in question, and said the FIA would find no problem with McLaren’s 2008 car, as the team have never used intellectual property belonging to a rival.

Full statement from Ron Dennis:

"The most important thing is that we will be going motor racing this weekend, the rest of the season and every season. This means that our drivers can continue to compete for the World Championship. However having been at the hearing today I do not accept that we deserved to be penalised in this way.

"Today's evidence given to the FIA by our drivers, engineers and staff clearly demonstrated that we did not use any leaked information to gain a competitive advantage.

"Much has been made in the press and at the hearing today of emails and text messages to and from our drivers. The World Motorsport Council received statements from Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Pedro de la Rosa stating categorically that no Ferrari information had been used by McLaren and that they had not passed any confidential data to the team.

"The entire engineering team in excess of 140 people provided statements to the FIA affirming that they had never received or used the Ferrari information.

"We have never denied that the information from Ferrari was in the personal possession of one of our employees at his home. The issue is: was this information used by McLaren? This is not the case and has not been proven today.

"We are also continually asked if McLaren didn't use the information, what was the reason for Stepney and Coughlan collecting all this data about Ferrari? We can only speculate as neither Coughlan nor Stepney gave evidence at today's hearing, but we do know that they were both seeking employment with other teams, as already confirmed by both Honda and Toyota.

"There will be no issue for the 2008 season as we have not at any stage used any intellectual property of any other team.

"We have got the best drivers and the best car and we intend to win the World Championship."