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McLaren: media reports 'inaccurate and misleading' 29 Feb 2008

McLaren team principal Ron Dennis Heikki Kovalainen (FIN) McLaren Mercedes MP4/23 Formula One Testing, Day Three, Barcelona, Spain, 27 February 2008. World © Moy/Sutton Ron Dennis (GBR) McLaren Team Principal and Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd16, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai International Circuit, Shanghai, China, Friday, 5 October 2007

McLaren have expressed their ‘extreme displeasure’ at reports claiming that important evidence in the Ferrari ‘spy scandal’ affair was found during police visits to the team’s factory earlier this week.

Investigators working as part of an ongoing Italian legal investigation visited both McLaren’s Woking base and the homes of team executives on Wednesday. Subsequent press stories have suggested that incriminating material relating to the case was discovered.

However, according to a statement released by McLaren on Friday, Italian police have not even been given access to the material yet. The team described the reports as 'grossly inaccurate' and added that they did not expect any new information to arise as a result of the visits, which were made on behalf of the Modena magistrate.

McLaren’s statement in full:
Woking, United Kingdom, Friday 29th February 2008: McLaren Racing wishes to record its extreme displeasure with the wording of a statement that the Italian Police are reported to have made yesterday. If those reports accurately reflect the police statement, the statement is grossly inaccurate and misleading.

The reports incorrectly claim that the searches produced material which clearly shows the responsibility of certain people at McLaren Racing. In fact, the Italian police have not yet even been given access to any of the material taken, nor have they even started to review that material. We would be extremely surprised if the review of the documentation reveals anything which has not already been disclosed as a result of the extensive investigations already carried out.

McLaren Racing believes that due process needs to be respected and that the conduct of an investigation process should not be construed adversely or used for publicity purposes. It should be noted that none of the extensive searches or investigations completed to date have produced any evidence that the Ferrari documents which Mr Nigel Stepney handed over to Mr Michael Coughlan were ever passed to anyone else at McLaren Racing or used on the McLaren Formula 1 car.

McLaren Racing will continue to co-operate with Surrey Police regarding any further searches and enquiries they are required to undertake. McLaren Racing wishes to thank Surrey Police for the helpful and courteous manner in which they have undertaken the process.