McLaren off the hook

Formula One team McLaren have escaped any immediate penalty after a disciplinary hearing into how they came to be in possession of confidential Ferrari documents.

Formula One team McLaren have escaped any immediate penalty after a disciplinary hearing into how they came to be in possession of confidential Ferrari documents.

McLaren suspended chief designer Mike Coughlan after a 780-page technical dossier was found at his home.

But the World Motorsport Council (WMSC) said there was "insufficient evidence" it had affected this year's title race.

McLaren still face a championship ban if in the future they are seen to have gained any advantage from the data.

The official statement from the WMSC read: "The WMSC is satisfied that Vodafone McLaren Mercedes was in possession of confidential Ferrari information and is therefore in breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code.

"However, there is insufficient evidence that this information was used in such a way as to interfere improperly with the FIA Formula One World Championship.

"We therefore impose no penalty."

The statement also said it would ask Coughlan and the other man at the centre of the drama, Ferrari's former head of performance development Nigel Stepney, to justify their actions to motorsport's highest authority, the FIA.

McLaren team chief Ron Dennis' immediate reaction was that he was "not completely comfortable with the outcome but the punishment fits the crime". - BBC

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