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FIA to scrap McLaren hearing
December 14, 2007 09:42 IST
McLaren accepted on Thursday that Ferrari [Images] data had penetrated deeper into their team than suspected and issued a public apology for the spying controversy.
In a statement, the Formula One team also offered to impose a moratorium on the development of three separate systems on their new car "to avoid even the possibility of Ferrari information influencing our performance during 2008".
In return, the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) said it would seek to cancel a meeting called for Feb. 14 to assess McLaren's 2008 car after a technical report last week raised suspicions about it.
The FIA fined McLaren a record $100 million and stripped them of their constructors' points in September after concluding that they benefitted from unauthorised possession of Ferrari information.
The Mercedes-powered team had risked a further points penalty, one that threatened to hit Briton Lewis Hamilton's [Images] title challenge next season, if their 2008 car was found to be tainted with Ferrari data.
However the FIA said on Thursday that, subsequent to McLaren's apology and undertakings, president Max Mosley had asked the World Motor Sport Council for their consent to cancel the meeting and "in the interests of the sport, to consider this matter closed."
The 2008 season starts in Australia in March.
"McLaren wish to make a public apology to the FIA, Ferrari, the Formula One community and to Formula One fans throughout the world," the team said on their Web site (www.mclaren.com).
"Changes are now being made which will ensure that nothing comparable to what has taken place will ever happen again."
In a copy of the FIA technical report published on the governing body's Web site (www.fia.com) on Thursday, senior McLaren engineers were quoted referring to a "mole" inside Ferrari.
McLaren said in their statement that "it has become clear that Ferrari information was more widely disseminated within McLaren than was previously communicated."
"McLaren greatly regrets that its own investigations did not identify this material and has written to the (FIA) World Motor Sport Council to apologise for this.
"McLaren has also written to the World Motor Sport Council to apologise that it has taken an FIA investigation to find this information and have expressed our deep regret that our understanding of the facts was improved as a result of the FIA inspection rather than our own investigations."
The team said they would pay the FIA's costs.
McLaren added that they had also conducted a thorough review of "policies and procedures regarding the recruitment and management of staff.
"The proposals arising from this thorough review have been disclosed to the FIA and McLaren has agreed to demonstrate that all of these policies and procedures have been fully implemented."
In a separate letter sent by McLaren chief executive Martin Whitmarsh to FIA President Max Mosley before a hearing in Monaco last week, the team revealed how much the controversy had affected them.
"Apart from the morale-sapping consequence within the team, it's ability to continue its task of generating investment has, as I am sure anyone can imagine, been made virtually impossible," wrote Whitmarsh.
"The long term damage to the team's previously outstanding record and commercial capability is significantly greater than that potentially envisaged by the fiscal penalty that was previously imposed upon the team."
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