Ferrari’s friend wins right to McLaren appeal

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Felipe Massa, Fernando Alonso, Nurburgring, 2007 | Ferrari MediaThe McLaren-Ferrari espionage allegations have now been referred to the appeal court following last week’s exoneration of McLaren.

As Ferrari were not allowed to file an appeal against the decision themselves, it seems they have called upon the assistance of an influential Italian ally.

That ally also made plain his belief that McLaren were guilty following the first hearing last week.

Luigi Macaluso is the President of the CIK-FIA International Karting Commission and the Commissione Sportiva Automobilistica Italiana (CSAI). He therefore has a seat on the World Motor Sports Council, the body that cleared McLaren on Thursday.

Immediately after the verdict – which the FIA claimed was unanimous – he said the following:

I was the only one that tried to explain that McLaren was guilty. For me they are guilty and that’s that.

Pretty unequivocal stuff. But the FIA had this to say afterwards:

We can confirm that the World that the World Motor Sport Council’s decision was unanimous. We can only imagine that Mr Macaluso’s comments were either taken out of context or were not clearly expressed in the media scrum which ensued outside the hearing.

Was Macaluso speaking his mind? Very probably. For it was he, on behalf of the CSAI that yesterday petitioned FIA President Max Mosley for an appeal against the exoneration:

We find it quite difficult to justify how a team has not been penalised while it has been found in breach of clause 151c of the International Sporting Code. Indeed, this is probably the most fundamental provision of our sport. In the present case the infringement is very serious since it has been assessed that the team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has repeatedly breached such provision, over several months, through several top team representatives, to the detriment of its most direct competitor and therefore to its direct or indirect advantage and knowing that such infringement would still be ongoing would it had not been fortuitously discovered.

He makes the same logical leap as Ferrari have in assuming that because one member of the McLaren team had access to a Ferrari document the team as a whole must therefore have been able to obtain an advantage (“to the detriment of its most direct competitor”).

Ferrari were not able to make an appeal against the WMSC decision themselves as the governing body’s rules prevents it. So did they lean on their ally Macaluso to produce an appeal?

Apparently he has been a friend of the Ferrari family since the 1960s and has had an official deal to produce Ferrari-branded watches since 1994.

Mosley in his reply conceded that there should be an appeal. But he also pointed out the critical lack of proof that prevented the WMSC from punishing McLaren with the full weight of the law – a multi-year suspension from the championship.

Photo: Ferrari Media

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