Ferrari have now tried to hush up a former driver’s claims that they spied on other teams’ radio transmissions.
But the fact that they admitted to it in the past makes that denial hard to swallow.
In the wake of McLaren being cleared last week Mika Salo, who stood in for Michael Schumacher at the Scuderia in 1999, said the following about his time with the team:
We always spied on McLaren, listening to their radio traffic. After every practice session I had in front of me, on paper, all the discussions Mika Hakkinen had had with his engineer.
While firing off thundering denunciations of the verdict clearing McLaren, Ferrari also found time to issue a press release regarding Salo’s comments:
What has been published in Ilta-Sanomat* does not match the thoughts I wanted to express.
I would therefore like to make it clear that I was only referring to Formula One in the late nineties, when radio technology was still at an almost amateurish level, which meant it could happen that some radio conversations could be listened to randomly because of interference.
*A Finnish newspaper
Salo may have an axe to grind. After all, he relinquished his only shot at a Grand Prix win that year (he never won one) to team mate Eddie Irvine at Ferrari’s behest, and Irvine didn’t even manage to win the title. Nor was he a great friend of compatriot Hakkinen.
But I don’t believe this clarification from Ferrari. Why?
Because two years earlier, after the 1997 European Grand Prix, they claimed to have transcripts of radio communications from both Williams and McLaren, alleging that the two teams had conspired to fix the outcome of the race.
Hoist by their own petard, there.
Image: Ferrari Media
- Ferrari’s friend wins right to McLaren appeal
- McLaren spy verdict: Why the FIA were right
- McLaren not punished in spy case (updated)
- Joaquin Verdegay’s unwise words (updated)
- Stepneygate, sensationalism and censorship
- Debate: Stepney scandal good for F1?
- Ten best… F1 scandals
- Extraordinary details in Ferrari-McLaren spy case
- McLaren linked to Ferrari espionage scandal
- Ferrari technician in criminal investigation