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Renault Spy Saga: World Motor Sport Council - Full Decision

NEWS STORY
07/12/2007

The World Motor Sport Council (“WMSC”) met on 6 December 2007 to consider a charge that Renault F1 Team (“Renault”) had breached Article 151(c) of the International Sporting Code, which prohibits "any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally".

1. Introduction

1.1. On 7 September 2007, Renault notified both McLaren and the FIA that when one its employees, Mechanical Design Engineer, Mr. Philip Mackereth (“Mackereth”), joined Renault in September 2006, he brought with him certain information which was confidential to his former employer, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes (“McLaren”).

1.2. Following from Renault's notification and from a complaint submitted by McLaren (which included a substantial dossier of information) the FIA wrote to Renault on 8 November 2007 requesting it to appear at an extraordinary meeting of the WMSC on 6 December 2007. Renault was informed that the purpose of this meeting was to answer the charge that between September 2006 and October 2007, in breach of Article 151(c) of the International Sporting Code, it had unauthorised possession of documents and confidential information belonging to McLaren, including, but not limited to the layout and critical dimensions of the McLaren F1 car, together with details of the McLaren fuelling system, gear assembly, oil cooling system, hydraulic control system and a novel suspension component used by the 2006 and 2007 McLaren F1 cars.

1.3. McLaren and Renault made extensive written submissions in advance of the 6 December WMSC meeting. Mackereth (who was separately advised) also made submissions in relation to his conduct which were supportive of Renault's position. Renault and McLaren were given copies of each others' submissions. In addition, the WMSC received a full copy of the information that Mackereth was said to have taken from McLaren and a confidential dossier submitted by Renault which purports to set out the design evolution of a number of relevant Renault systems.

1.4. At the 6 December WMSC meeting, oral submissions and explanations were made on behalf of Renault and McLaren and evidence from a number of witnesses was heard (including from Mackereth himself). WMSC put questions to those concerned and opportunities were also offered and taken up for Renault and McLaren to cross-examine each others' witnesses.

2. Summary of main findings

2.1. It emerges from the written and oral submissions made (and it is admitted by Renault) that different Renault engineers received and considered four confidential McLaren drawings from Mackereth. In this regard Renault admits a breach of Article 151(c) of the International Sporting Code.

2.2. Mackereth took a much more significant volume of information from McLaren including some confidential information, some information that was not proprietary to McLaren and some personal financial information. The WMSC can be concerned only with what Renault had access to (rather than what Mackereth took) from McLaren as only the former could impact the FIA Formula One World Championship (“the Championship”).

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