Ferrari accuses McLaren of 'lying' - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Ferrari accuses McLaren of 'lying'

By Alan Baldwin 04/08/2007 06:08:00 AM Comments (0)

Ferrari denied on Friday that their cars had broken the rules in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix and castigated Formula One rivals McLaren for making "serious and false" accusations against them.

With the two teams locked in a spying controversy, Ferrari responded to points raised in a letter sent by McLaren team boss Ron Dennis to the head of the Italian Automobile Club on Wednesday.

"Ferrari wishes to state very strongly that its (McLaren's) letter contains accusations that are both serious and false," it said in a statement ahead of the Hungarian Grand Prix.

"Contrary to the statement put forward by Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, Ferrari never illegally gained any advantage.

"The two F2007 cars used in the Australian Grand Prix were deemed by the Stewards to be in conformity with the technical regulations, before, during and at the end of the event.

"If there had been any illegalities, they would have been disqualified."

Ferrari said that the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) had followed previous procedures by issuing a clarification on the rules and then asking teams to make the necessary modifications.

"There are actually numerous examples of this in both the recent and distant past which have also involved other teams," added the statement.

"At the next sitting of the FIA International Court of Appeal, Ferrari will fully explain its position on the entire matter."

Ferrari have accused championship leaders McLaren of gaining an advantage from leaked documents, something the Mercedes-powered team denies.

The FIA's World Motor Sport Council decided at a hearing last week to impose no penalty on McLaren for having unauthorised possession of Ferrari data, a ruling that has since been sent to appeal.

Dennis said in his letter that Ferrari, who won in Melbourne with Kimi Raikkonen, had run their cars with a floor device that gave them "an illegal competitive advantage".

He said McLaren had sought a clarification on the device after being tipped off by now dismissed Ferrari employee Nigel Stepney, whom he described as a 'whistleblower".

Stepney denied this on Friday.

"It's not true that I revealed those irregularities," Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport quoted lawyer Sonia Bartolini as saying on Stepney's behalf.

"You only needed to take a look at the car to realise what was wrong, it was obvious for people who work in F1. At McLaren they knew without the need for whistle blowing."

Stepney, sacked by Ferrari over allegations that he leaked a 780-page dossier of technical information to McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan, is currently the subject of a criminal investigation in Italy.

He has denied any wrongdoing in the affair.

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