WMSC hearing: Renault found guilty but not penalized 

Written by David on December 07th, 2007 at 2:49 amLast Update: December 09th, 2007 at 2:06 pm

At FIA’s World Motor Sport Council in Monaco today, ING Renault managed to escape penalties for spying on McLaren but despite that was found guilty of the charges against them. A statement for the governing body confirmed that there was no punishment. The following is FIA’s offical statement:

“An extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council was held in Monaco on December 6, 2007. The World Council found Renault F1 to be in breach of article 151c of the International Sporting Code but imposed no penalty. Detailed reasons for this decision will be issued on December 7, 2007, and a transcript of the proceedings will be published as soon as possible thereafter.”

Renault were called in front of the FIA to answer charges that they had in their possession intellectual property belonging to McLaren. This revolved around a number of floppy discs of technical information that engineer Phil Mackareth had taken to Renault from McLaren when he moved teams in late 2006.

Possession of the information was deemed to have been a breach of Article 151C, which refers to bringing the sport into disrepute. Article 151C of the International Sporting Code states that teams are in breach of the regulations if they are found to have taken part in: “Any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally.”

The decision on Renault mirrors what happened to McLaren in July, when the team were also found guilty during their FIA hearing in Paris but escaped any punishment because of a lack of proof the team had benefited from using Ferrari data. It was only the subsequent discovery of e-mail correspondence between Fernando Alonso and test driver Pedro de la Rosa, plus records of mobile phone calls and SMS messages between Mike Coughlan and Nigel Stepney, that resulted in a further hearing and their eventual punishment of a $100 million (USD) fine and exclusion from the constructors’ championship.

McLaren will also face the FIA tomorrow, where it will be decided whether or not any evidence of Ferrari intellectual property has been found on the team’s 2008 contender.

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