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Last Updated: Thursday, 26 July 2007, 17:03 GMT 18:03 UK
Ferrari fury over McLaren verdict
Ferrari chief Jean Todt (centre)
Ferrari chief Jean Todt (centre) arrives at the disciplinary hearing
The Ferrari Formula One team reacted with fury after rivals McLaren were let off without any immediate punishment in the F1 spying row.

Despite McLaren being in possession of confidential Ferrari data it was deemed there was "insufficient evidence" it had affected this year's title race.

"This decision legitimises dishonest behaviour in F1 and sets a very serious precedent," said a Ferrari statement.

"We feel this is highly prejudicial to the credibility of the sport."

McLaren described the verdict as "very balanced and fair" as they had committed a "purely technical breach" of the regulations.

I am pleased with today's decision and can't wait for the rest of the season

Lewis Hamilton

The row erupted after the chance discovery that McLaren's chief designer Mike Coughlan - who has since been suspended by the team - was in possession of a confidential 780-page Ferrari technical dossier.

But the world motorsport council's disciplinary panel declined to impose any penalty because it said it could not find any evidence that "this information was used in such a way as to interfere improperly with the FIA F1 world championship."

Ferrari, who sacked former head of performance development Nigel Stepney over his alleged role in the affair, said they could not see any logic in this decision, and would continue with legal action in the Italian criminal courts and English civil courts.


"Ferrari... finds it incomprehensible that violating the fundamental principle of sporting honesty does not have, as a logical and inevitable consequence, the application of a sanction," the team statement said.

"In fact, the decision of the world council signifies that possession, knowledge at the very highest level and use of highly confidential information acquired in an illicit manner and the acquiring of confidential information over the course of several months, represent violations that do not carry any punishment.

"This is all the more serious as it has occurred in a sport like F1 in which small details make all the difference."

However, in a statement from McLaren, team boss Ron Dennis said: "There is no doubt that the past 24 days have been challenging and the tremendous support we have received from our sponsor partners and the public has been much appreciated.

"Moving forward McLaren wants to re-affirm our long-standing commitment to honesty and integrity and re-state that we believe we have acted correctly throughout.

"Now, we have Formula One world championships to win. As a result we intend to move on, so as to maintain the focus and commitment required to do exactly that."

McLaren's British driver Lewis Hamilton, who leads the drivers' standings, said: "Whilst it's only my first season in Formula One with the team, I already know and appreciate the commitment and dedication of the people there.

"As a result I am pleased with today's decision and can't wait for the rest of the season."

McLaren off hook in F1 spying row
26 Jul 07 |  Formula One
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11 Jul 07 |  Formula One
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07 Jul 07 |  Formula One
McLaren caught in Ferrari spy row
04 Jul 07 |  Formula One
Ferrari mechanic denies sabotage
24 Jun 07 |  Formula One
Honda on defensive in spying row
06 Jul 07 |  Formula One


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