"New Evidence" implicates McLaren
In a stunning development on the eve of the expected FIA Court of Appeal hearing of allegations that McLaren stole confidential Ferrari documents, “new evidence” implicating McLaren has caused the FIA to reconvene the World Motor Sport Council, the group originally hearing the case, to further consider the case. The referral of the case to the FIA Court of Appeals has been withdrawn. That hearing had been scheduled to b Following the receipt of new evidence, the World Motor Sport Council has been reconvened for a hearing in Paris on September 13th," egin September 15th.
Instead, “[f]ollowing the receipt of new evidence, the World Motor Sports Council will convene a hearing on September 13th,” according to the FIA. McLaren also issued a statement: "McLaren Racing has been made aware that new evidence has been presented to the FIA as part of their ongoing investigation. As a result we have been informed that the Court of Appeal hearing scheduled for the 13th September in Paris will now comprise a meeting of the WMSC.
McLaren will continue to cooperate fully with the FIA."
At the time the Council rendered its earlier decision, it had reserved the right to reconvene the inquiry should evidence arise indicating that McLaren has made use of the illegally obtained information. Other Formula One teams, notably Renault, have indicated that they believe McLaren did just that.
Though the Council had found that McLaren possessed the stolen documents, it imposed no sanction on McLaren in the belief that its chief engineer, Mike Coughlan, had acted alone and that the team had not benefited from the Ferrari information. However, should the Council now determine that McLaren is more implicated than previously thought, it could impose sanctions and penalties as severe as banning McLaren from the remainder of this season’s competition and next season’s as well, nullifying the teams victories this year and eliminating it from competition for either the constructor’s or driver’s championships.