McLaren will not appeal spying punishment

Posted on | Author Keith Collantine

Fernando Alonso, McLaren-Mercedes, Silverstone, 2007 | Daimler ChryslerMcLaren confirmed today that it will not appeal against its expulsion from the 2007 constructors’ championship and $100m fine it was slapped with in the espionage hearing last week.

The team’s statement read: “McLaren thinks it is in the best interests of the sport, and its goal of winning races and world championships, not to appeal.”

Although an apparent end to the FIA’s hearings is welcome, a lot of damage has been done to the sport already, and it remains to be seen what the outcome of Ferrari’s prosecutions against Mike Coughlan and Nigel Stepney will results in.

Many people have maintained that what McLaren were prosecuted for was no worse than what other teams have gotten up to over the years. If that is true, then the FIA has a tough new precedent to enforce.

And it might be called to task over it very quickly, with McLaren apparently considering an action against Renault. It will be interesting to see if Ron Dennis persists with this matter, or whether that too is dropped ‘in the best interests of the sport’.

Ferrari’s two cases against Coughlan and Stepney are another matter entirely. Putting to one side the question of what happens if the courts decide nothing untoward went on (what would that mean for the FIA?), it will be fascinating to discover what evidence Ferrari presents against Stepney for his alleged sabotage.

McLaren’s decision may be the beginning of the end of the spy story – but it will surely be many years before we hear the end of it. There are still many questions unanswered.

Even with the FIA’s publication of the transcripts from both hearings (complete with confidential Ferrari and McLaren information that was never supposed to be there in the first place) the whole story of the espionage case appears like an iceberg, with the small amount of knowledge above the surface surely nothing like as vast as the stories now concealed in the murky depths of the past.

The inevitable movement of people within and out of the sport will surely bring occasional new facts to light. But it will be a long time before we fully understand everything that happened.

It does, however, confirm Ferrari as 2007 constructors’ champions.

Photo: Daimler Chrysler

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