Spy Story: FIA claims new evidence 

Written by David on September 05th, 2007 at 7:43 pmLast Update: December 09th, 2007 at 1:05 pm

Formula One’s governing body said on Wednesday that it had received new evidence relating to a spying controversy involving McLaren and Ferrari and an appeal hearing scheduled for next week had been withdrawn. The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement that its World Motor Sport Council had instead been reconvened for a hearing in Paris on September 13, the date scheduled for the appeal.

It added that representatives of championship leaders McLaren, who could face exclusion from the championship, had been invited to attend.

“Following receipt of new evidence, the World Motor Sport Council has been reconvened for a hearing in Paris on September 13,” it said. Asked about the new information, an FIA spokesman said the world body was “not in a position to make any comment at this stage.”

The World Motor Sport Council decided in July not to impose any penalty on Mercedes-powered McLaren because of insufficient evidence that they had benefited from Ferrari data in the possession of their suspended chief designer Mike Coughlan. However the governing body said at the time that the matter was not closed.

“If it is found in the future that the Ferrari information has been used to the detriment of the championship, we reserve the right to invite McLaren back in front of the WMSC where it will face the possibility of exclusion from not only the 2007 championship but also the 2008 championship,” it said .

Ferrari, McLaren’s title rivals, were incensed by the original council verdict and FIA president Max Mosley sent the decision to the body’s International Court of Appeal. “The FIA President’s referral of the matter to the International Court of Appeal has been withdrawn,” the FIA said on Wednesday.

McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton leads double world champion teammate Fernando Alonso by five points going into Sunday’s Italian Grand Prix, Ferrari’s home race, at Monza.

Ferrari’s Felipe Massa is 15 points behind Hamilton with teammate Kimi Raikkonen one point further adrift with five races remaining.

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