McLaren avoids ‘spy’ penalty

Formula One team McLaren has escaped penalty for being in possession of confidential design documents belonging to rival Ferrari.

The documents are alleged to have been leaked by Ferarri’s head of performance development Nigel Stepney to McLaren’s chief designer Mike Coughlan.

Yesterday, an investigation by Formula One’s governing body, the World Motorsport Council, into how McLaren got hold of the technical data ruled that there was ‘insufficient evidence’ as to whether the material had been used.

Earlier this month, Coughlan was suspended by McLaren when documents were found in his house. Ferrari claims that the designer and his wife had copies of its design secrets, allegedly passed on by Stepney, according to reports.

The documents are said to contain details of four aspects of the Italian car’s design.

Both men were suspended at the time and their futures will now be decided by Formula One’s governing body.

Following the hearing yesterday the verdict handed down to McLaren was one of ‘no penalty’, but if the information is found to have been used McLaren could be excluded from this, and next, year’s F1 championship.

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