Leaked dossier outlines McLaren case against Renault ‘spying’

2007 F1 season

Giancarlo Fisichella, Renault, Barcelona, pre-season, 2007, 3A leaked dossier detailing McLaren’s case against Renault in F1’s new spy case has been published by PA Sport.

It alleges Renault had access to the entire technical blueprint for the 2006 and 2007 McLaren F1 cars.

Among the claims are suggestions that Renault had 780 (isn’t that a familiar number?) technical drawings of the McLarens.

The document states that:

[There were] 18 witness statements in which Renault F1 employees admit that they viewed confidential technical information belonging to McLaren on a total of 11 computers owned by Renault F1.

Papers in the document say that in March 2006, 33 files of confidential technical information belonging to McLaren were copied on to 11 floppy disks, which were loaded on to Renault F1’s computer system in September 2006.

The dossier says the 33 files contain more than 780 individual drawings outlining the entire technical blueprint of the 2006 and 2007 McLaren F1 cars.

The files were uploaded on to 11 Renault F1 computers, and were discussed by up to 18 Renault F1 personnel, including a group of senior engineering chiefs and heads of department within Renault F1, according to documents in the dossier.

McLaren released a statement that said:

It is clear that McLaren’s confidential design information was knowingly, deliberately and widely disseminated and discussed within the Renault F1 design and engineering team, thereby providing them with a clear benefit and unfair advantage.

McLaren also criticised Renault’s response to the investigation. It claims Renault staff had a “cavalier attitude” during the investigation and that some of its their responses were “incomplete”, “misleading” or “incorrect”. Phil Mackereth’s (the technician originally charged with obtaining the McLaren data) claim he kept some McLaren information for “sentimental reasons” is described as “absurd”.

Renault face a hearing of the World Motor Sports Council on December 6th to determine whether it breached Article 151c of the FIA International Sporting Code: “fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally.”

This is the rule under which McLaren were thrown out of the 2007 Constructors’ Championship and had to pay a $100m fine.

Were a second team to face a similar punishment within such a short space of time it would be a major blow to the reputation of Formula 1.

Photo: LAT Photographic

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24 comments on Leaked dossier outlines McLaren case against Renault ‘spying’

  1. This looks bad, worse than the McLaren thing – there seems to be some proof at least…

  2. nellyweb said on 23rd November 2007, 10:02

    I guess that explains why Fernando hasn’t signed up for the Renault seat yet then!

  3. Definetly more information than anything disclosed during the ferrari v mclaren case on the face of this information they can only be either banned for 2008 or made to use the last seasons car – but if they had this information itdoesnt seem to have helped them much – and can you see any rival team not use the information??

  4. I do not think the reputation of F1 would be hurt too much, in general everybody even blogs :-) enjoy anything they can write and talk about …

    but it remains to be seen how will Reanult’t top brass react to McLaren scale of punishment … I am not sure Ghosn will be too happy …

  5. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd November 2007, 11:22

    I agree with you up to a point Milos (I’m certainly not complaining about the extra traffic!) but what if Renault were to get the same punishment as McLaren? Or worse?

    People have already begun drawing comparisons (rightly or not) between this sort of thing and drug taking in cycling. If the general public forms the impression that all the F1 teams cheat by spying on each other, then it could be very damaging.

  6. rooster said on 23rd November 2007, 13:24

    Mclarens words are not to be trusted. Its proven time and time again this year.Now since their Brazil appeal was dismissed..they gotta find another reason rite?

    “Baker and McKenzie also contend that Renault has responded to the affair so far with a ‘cavalier attitude’, and that its explanations have been ‘incomplete’, ‘misleading’ or ‘incorrect’. Mackereth’s assertion that he kept the McLaren information for ‘sentimental reasons’ was slammed as ‘absurd’ by McLaren.”

    Again Hypocrisy at its best. As far as it goes, Renault had done a better job at handling this. Disgusted.

  7. Keith Collantine (@keithcollantine) said on 23rd November 2007, 13:43

    Is that you, Flavio?

  8. lol Keith :D

    I believe Flavio did say “if it is the same [McLaren vs Ferrari], I sue!” – I might have to find that reference again… I have to say, I do like Flavio, he’s about the only Team Boss that makes me laugh.

    On paper, thats is the details published, it looks more substantial than McLaren vs Ferrari.

    However, I wonder if the FIA’s punishment for McLaren was also means tested. That is, did they award the given penalty not only to set a precedent, but to a team that can actually afford it? McLaren proclaims it earns 4-5 times that per year, and that the penalty will be offset against any monies earned through Constructors had they not been DQed.

    Yes, there are knock on effects, such as being down the other end of the pitlane etc., but you couldn’t hand the same penalty to a lesser team because, well apart from the fact the cars and assets will next be found on ebay, you’d have 2 less cars on the grid next year – and that would be bad.

    And, the FIA are inconsistent. It wouldn’t really surprise anyone if Renault got a much smaller penalty than McLaren would it. But, by justification of being able to compete again, would it be inline?

  9. The general impression amongst those I know is that F1 is rife with spying anyway. I’m not sure this would make a big difference. In a way it might make it possible to say that F1 has had a spring clean and the FIA are now taking the matter more seriously?

  10. Seems like McLaren are sabotaging Alonso’s drives for next year.

  11. Wait a second– Renault uses floppy disks???

  12. How can it sabotage Alonso’s drives for next year when he hasn’t said where he is going – or what it will cost whoever it is – maybe Flavio thinks he can get a discount for his services?
    Also wasn’t this reported before Alonso was released that Renault were being investigated?
    and speaking of Alonso is this the longest he has never had anything to speak about/complain?

  13. i’m not buying this for a second. 780 isn’t just familiar, it’s a deliberate attempt by mclaren to draw a comparison with their own troubles.

    the perfect number to grab the media’s attention.

    didn’t ron say during mclaren’s trial that an entire blueprint of an F1 car amounted to more than 80,000* documents? yet today it’s only a couple of hundred?

    *i forget the exact figure and the FIA website isn’t allowing me to download them again. i was much higher than 780 though.

  14. The penalty should never be adjusted to the felon’s ability to pay. The fine is based on the gravity of the offense, and Maxipad’s open hatred of Ron has now boxed himself into a similar penalty for Renault.

    Don’t forget, the FIA never found any Ferrari info on the McLaren data base, and the McLaren data was on multiple computers of Renault for over a year. The penalty for Renault should be more, not less than what McLaren were slapped with.

  15. George for christ sake on what grounds You think this is much serious then 1st spygate?

    What kind of argument is that info was found on multiple computers on Renault…what is the diff. if it was stored on one or more computers…it was available…
    and whether some unfair advantage is to have been gained or not is the only relevant information scrutinners are looking for…
    For Your info, Ferrari’s data were printed out and found in Coughlan posession(other staff member were aware of that posession and …proven on 1st hearing…)
    Does it mean according to Your logic that if Renault uses electronic format it is automatically ofense but
    if McLaren uses printed format it is not?
    Try to find FIA verdict on McLaren-Ferrari case and You will all see what was proven on 1st and what on the 2nd hearing…then You will see that on the later it was proven that McLaren tested using Ferrari’s data…
    Does anyone of You know in what way all these technicians got in touch with McLaren’s data?
    Did they test something or they were just aware
    that one employee brought uselles info from McLaren…
    This kind of explanation helped McLaren on 1st hearing…
    In the mean time can somebody tell the british press to be more specific over source of info ,since this kind of source previously suggested 3 CDs,and now I see there are 11 floppy disks… very consistent and reliable…
    I am disappointed that You allready give verdicts without hearing a word form Renault…this does not belong to 21st century…this is more like Wild West..

    Anyway..whatever will be,this is by no means similar to the McLaren Ferrari case,this is almost identical as Ferrari Toyota plus that it is still not revealed
    if these data were of any relevance…
    I read FIA verdict from the 1st affair and I must say that this will be very important

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