Renault in fresh FIA spying enquiry

Posted on Author Keith Collantine

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, Montreal, 2007The Renault team is to answer charges that it illegally obtained McLaren intellectual property.

The FIA today summoned representatives to appear before the World Motor Sport Council in Monaco on December 6th.

McLaren alleged that the French team had illegal data belonging to them after McLaren was thrown out of the constructors’ championship for a similar infraction this year. In September Auto Motor und Sport reported that Phil Mackereth, formerly a McLaren engineer, had taken three discs of plans to Renault when he joined the team.

The FIA statement read:

Representatives of the Renault F1 Team have been requested to appear before a hearing of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Monaco on Thursday, December 6, 2007.

The team representatives have been called to answer a charge that between September 2006 and October 2007, in breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code, the Renault F1 Team had unauthorised possession of documents and confidential information belonging to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, including, but not limited to the layout and critical dimensions of the McLaren F1 car, together with details of the McLaren fuelling system, gear assembly, oil cooling system, hydraulic control system and a novel suspension component used by the 2006 and 2007 McLaren F1 cars.

Meanwhile, the FIA has begun its examination of the 2008 McLaren car.

Photo: LAT Photographic

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21 comments on “Renault in fresh FIA spying enquiry”

  1. It’s kind of ironic that McLaren would be the victims in this case (after the debacle this year where they were obviously painted as the guilty party). If Renault are guilty, it’ll be interesting to see what punishment is dished out. Max set a huge precedent with the McLaren case- in my opinion, anything less than what McLaren got would be a cop-out.

  2. Just because it happens all the time doesn’t mean it’s right. It’s even worse if you catch a team, then you don’t really punish them just because it always happens.

    Renault’s punishment should be dependent on the evidence presented. We can’t pass judgment on them just yet.

    Just one thing: if Alonso moves to Renault, then they’re found guilty here and get a similar punishment to McLaren, how would he feel?

  3. This may complicate the Alonso’s move. I wonder if Alonso and Renault will sign any contract now, while the matter is pending.

    Flavio was confident in September this is only case of Dennis throwing stones in all directions… But Dennis also believed all the time McLaren did nothing wrong with Ferrari.

    Alonso’s move to Renault requires quite some funds to finance. If at the same there is a danger Renault can be fined some big money for spying they may want to wait for the outcome. But not sure if Alonso will want to wait that long to see where he races, by that time there may be nowehere left to go…

  4. When I first saw this I screamed. I don’t think I can handle another “espoinage” scandal. Yuk. I think the FIA needs to lessen it’s stranglehold on the sport and ease up a bit. For example, I thinks it’s absurd that every single on track collision between drivers is subject to an investigation. Yes, all the stop and go penatlys and all that lot are sometimes nessesary but I long for the days when a “racing incident” remained a “racing incident”.

  5. I hope that if they’re guilty of possesion of Mclaren intelectual property, they get punished accordingly. FIA set a precedent with Mclaren a few weeks ago. As a Mclaren fan, I only expect that the truth come out, and that they get what they deserve.

  6. I see a lot of sore Mclaren fans here. Your bosses brought that upon themselves and now trying to stir the pot in other teams. What advantage could the Renault R26 gain from an ureliable and slow MP4-21?And if so why was the R27 not as fast as the MP4-22 which in turn used Ferrari data? Ron.BTW how did Mclaren find details abt Renault’s mass pretty sure Flav will use that against him as it was Mclaren not Ferrari who asked the FIA if they can use the same system. Same as the moving floor episode…see a resemblance?Shameful what a way to attract attention huh

  7. I think it’s worth remembering that McLaren were never proven to have used the Ferrari information. It was proven that some individuals had seen it (Coughlan), and that others knew of its existence (Alonso, de la Rosa) but not that it had been used.

    Asking what advantage they might have gained on the track is therefore not relevant.

    Besides which, possessing knowledge that your rival does not have is always an advantage.

    I wonder if McLaren’s real goal with this is not to have Renault punished but to somehow exonerate themselves.

  8. Methinks they want to get the FIA into a sticky situation. But the way Max and the WMSC have been acting, it seems they’ve found a way out. Remember, it was the WMSC after all that called for the hearing, and it wasn’t due to pressure by other external factors.

  9. Right if it is true that renault had this information then it would explain the reluctance of flavio to denounce mclaren having ferrari info – also – wouldnt one of the key persons that had e’ms ,etc – Alonso moving to renault also have updates on the new mclaren car??? – it is just another example of our sport? being turned into a circus by fia over kill and the rot starts at the top in that organisation

  10. McLaren for sure brought this up in September trying to divert the attention somewhere else. But there was 2 months with zero news on this issue. I am kind of sure if McLaren were pushing the issue with FIA / WMSC it would have been all over papers.

    It looks like McLaren notified FIA in September and waited what is going to happen. FIA had to investigate and likely came up with something that justifies the WMSC hearing

    It will be difficult for FIA to let Renault escape some sort of punishment if (as it seems) the team was in possesion of McLaren materials… McLaren were punished for possesion. As Keith said above, whether Renault made use of the materials or not makes no difference.

    I really want to see how FIA handles this … They were willing to destroy McLaren with fine and 2 years exclusion. Are they ready for F1 without Renault ? Such huge fine in case Renault (even if reduced proportionally to Renaults budget) would likely trigger some F1 escape plans in Ghosn’s head…

    And … Do the fresh reports of Alonso’s manager having talks with Red Bull have anything to do with this spy case latest development ?

  11. Mclaren were not punished for the possesion. Remember the first verdict? They scotted free. Ferrari appealead and the evidence which is the e-mail exchanges showed they at least intended to use of course they cant prove that it was use. Juz like i ate somebody’s food but after that i can always claim i never ate it coz they cant prove it. In F1 transfer of information is inevitable especially when employees change from 1 team to another only that Mclaren got caught with their pants down, so now they are trying to stir the pot. F1 has turned into a circus really.

  12. “lets hope renualt get fined $1m and deducted points!

    i say down with alonso! i dont care what anyone else thinks! :)”

    In that case I hope the FIA just fine McLaren again and allocate them -100 points for the next decade for no reason whatsoever other than being McLaren! :P

    This has brought about talks about Alonso’s signing with the team, and how will it affect it, but what about Kovalainen’s potential deal to go to McLaren – which is perhaps more relevant to the 2 teams involved? Would this sour things up?

  13. Looks to me they are in the same position.

    The FIA shouldn’t have taken McLaren’s points and such.
    Cause now, they say, hey a few ppl in a big company can put everything on its behind.
    And that is what happened at McLaren, some ppl knew about it, and maybe (yes maybe) some information was used… but it was never proven.
    So Renault now has the same issue… the data has been seen… at probably not used.. probably…
    I’m afraid it’s no good.

  14. To Roooster:

    I’m not a sore Mclaren fan, nor I want revenge for what has happened. I just want the right punishment for Renault. I don’t think Mclaren it’s bringing this up now to affect Alonso somehow, for the matter first came to light in september. It is believe that a least 15 engineers at Renault saw the documents, the files were stored in Renault computers. If Renault gets without punishment, some serious doubts will be cast upon FIA’s judgement.

  15. Renault claim they immediately notified Mclaren and the FIA when they found out about the Mclaren documents in their possession. But was it in 2006 or 2007 they notified these parties of this knowlege? Or do they mean they immediately notified them one year later?

    Mclaren mass damper system, is built into the rear suspension articulation, unlike the Renault banned system that was sitting right in the nose cone.

    The irony here is that, Renault had these information on their computer system unlike in the case of Mclaren. The case used against Mclaren was that, these kinds of information would get into the thinking process of their engineers and designers, exactly the same calibre of individuals that had access to the information at Renault.

    Mclaren had long known about Renaults possession of these information, and were willing to let it be. But the FIA having villified them for a similar infraction, they were forced to let this info out. The FIA will not dare hand out such a harsh penalty on Renault, cause they will quit F1 immediately.

  16. Oliver I quite agree with you that it is because mclaren were used as examples – hopefully this is – fia apointed inspectors – to see if there is any(sic) – ferrari intellectual material being used in it’s design – phew!!
    I just think it has always happened in F1 – but because max’s pals complained because they were losing to rival team with an upstart newcomer that mclaren were cheating – obviously how could a new driver win so many podium places!! – talent has nothing to do with it – never ,ever – and every new revalation from whatever corner just shows how biased the fia is and who they side with – used to like ferrari – not now – yes I am just a little biased now myself – guess why?

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