But where McLaren was found guilty of 'spying' on Ferrari and fined, rightfully so, 100 million Euro, Renault walks away unscathed due to lack of evidence.
Retains third position in 2007 season
The FIA's World Motor Sport Council has given a guilty verdict in the case of McLaren vs Renault. Renault has breached article 151c ("any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally") of the International Sporting Code. In short, Renault was in possession of classified McLaren schematics of their 2006 car. But where McLaren was found guilty of 'spying' on Ferrari and fined, rightfully so, 100 million Euro, Renault walks away unscathed due to 'lack of evidence'.
Renault had received several documents from Philip Mackereth (ex McLaren engineer) of which four found their way into the Renault team. Three were outdated and resulted in no gain for Renault, but the fourth, a schematic displaying McLaren's 'J-Damper' was used to try and get the system declared illegal. But Renault could not make much sense of the schematic and the complaint never made it past the FIA commission.
Sticky point was the file called peak2 / 21aspec which was a screen grab of McLaren's MP4-22A Technical Specification file, outlining the 2007 McLaren F1 car. But Renault was never 'influenced' by this image and was ultimately dismissed as evidence. Another finding of the FIA was that the information was not 'live', and thus outdated, and that Renault has been very cooperative and pro-active in regards to this case and to avoid it happening again.
From the FIA verdict: 8.12. In these circumstances, although a number of very unsatisfactory elements were noted during the deliberations, in assessing the gravity of the breach, the WMSC concluded 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.
Without a huge fine in prospect, Renault now has enough financial backing and the chance to win the constructors title to offer ex-McLaren driver Fernando Alonso a new contract to return to the Renault team for the 2008 season.
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