- Jun 18, 2005
- 2008 MY09 Subaru Impreza RX
McLaren drawn into criminal investigation
Sunday, 09, September, 2007, 11:06
The spying controversy that has engulfed Formula 1 took a further dramatic twist on Saturday evening when Italian magistrates informed McLaren boss Ron Dennis and other senior team members that they have become part of a criminal investigation.
Law officers turned up in the Monza paddock on the eve of the Italian Grand Prix to notify Dennis and several of his employees that they are being investigated for sporting fraud and industrial espionage.
?The team was informed on Saturday evening by Modena magistrates that they are involved in an ongoing investigation,? a McLaren spokeswoman confirmed.
Italian news agency ANSA claims that, in addition to Dennis, those under investigation are former high-ranking Ferrari employee Nigel Stepney and McLaren?s suspended chief designer Mike Coughlan ? the two men at the heart of the alleged leak of classified Ferrari technical data ? as well as McLaren?s COO Martin Whitmarsh and senior employees Paddy Lowe, Jonathan Neale and Rob Taylor.
The legal notification may not necessarily lead to charges being brought, but the involvement of the Italian judiciary ratchets up the already intense pressure on Dennis and McLaren.
F1?s governing body the FIA announced last week that it has reconvened its World Motor Sport Council for an emergency session on September 13 after new evidence surfaced on the extent of McLaren?s involvement in the spying case.
The British team, which currently leads both world championships, faces a potentially draconian penalty if the WMSC revises its original verdict that it did not benefit from the leaked technical data contained in a 780-page dossier found at Coughlan?s home.
?If it is found in the future that Ferrari information has been used to the detriment of the championship, we reserve the right to invite McLaren back in front of the WMSC where it will face the possibility of exclusion from not only the 2007 championship but also the 2008 championship,? the FIA said in July.
McLaren are in for a tough ride.