Jem of the Shire

No Penalty For Mclaren

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FIA decides not to penalise McLaren

Thursday, 26, July, 2007, 15:02

The FIA World Motor Sport Council has decided not to impose any penalty on McLaren for possessing confidential Ferrari data.

The governing body said that while there was no doubt that the team's chief designer Mike Coughlan had had access to the leaked information, there was no proof that McLaren had benefited in any way.

But the FIA reserved the right to summon McLaren again if it emerged that the team had made use of the data.

A statement issued by the FIA after the hearing said it would now pursue action against Coughlan and Ferrari engineer Nigel Stepney, the other figure at the centre of the scandal.

More to follow

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FIA decides not to penalise McLaren

Thursday, 26, July, 2007, 15:02

The FIA World Motor Sport Council has decided not to impose any penalty on McLaren for possessing confidential Ferrari data.

The governing body said that while there was no doubt that the team's chief designer Mike Coughlan had had access to the leaked information, there was no proof that McLaren had benefited in any way.

But the FIA reserved the right to summon McLaren again if it emerged that the team had made use of the data.

A statement issued by the FIA after the hearing said it would now pursue action against Coughlan and Ferrari engineer Nigel Stepney, the other figure at the centre of the scandal.

More to follow

Justice has been served...NOT!

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Justice has been served...NOT!

Wow.

So you can hold any documents from other teams as long as the use can not be proven? So spying is allowed now? (well at least not punishable)

Ridiculous. FIA just did not have the balls to do anything.

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I can't wait for the Ferrari fans to tell us what they think :lol:

Edited by Sato

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this isnt surprising at all. There's no evidence or proof that anything from those documents was used on the mclaren cars, so what can FIA be expected to do?

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this isnt surprising at all. There's no evidence or proof that anything from those documents was used on the mclaren cars, so what can FIA be expected to do?

Same thing as US and UK did to Irak with the same kind of evidence? :lol:

FIA says that Coughlan did had these documents. So at least him is guilty of espionage, whether McLaren used the documents or not.

Now, there are two concepts in law called "Culpa in contraendo" and "Culpa in vigilando". They imply that you are responsible for the people you hire and for watching over them so they do not do anything illegal on your behalf. If a guy kills his wife, the company he works for won't share the guilt, of course. But if he does something that could be ultimately beneficial for the team, things aren't that simple.

I am not saying that they should be banned for espionage. But the least they deserved was a hefty fine for this. Now, as hattivatti said, espionage is legal, as long as noone can prove that you use it in your cars.

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For once the FIA actually made the "right" decision.

Based on the current evidence... I agree with the "decision and option" to penalize McLaren if new evidence warrants it.

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so I guess what we've learned is that its perfectly fine to own another teams secrets and be caught, but its illegal to make use of those secrets on your teams car

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We have learned nothing.

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gr8... so does this means spying is legal in F1...as long as you can prove you have not used the data which u stole from other team...

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Funny how people only see what they have already decided to see.

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Andres is right about vicarious liability, but I don't know whether it applies here. Unless MC was acting for his employers, that is*. And anyway, if you were MC and you got caught what would you do? Would you throw up your hands and admit everything? Or would you try and shift some of the blame onto someone else? Especially if you were unhappy in their employ........

In this case the FIA got it right. Without absolute proof they can't do much.

*but why go to that trouble for a company you intend to leave?

Edited by monza gorilla

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Andres is right about vicarious liability, but I don't know whether it applies here. Unless MC was acting for his employers, that is*. And anyway, if you were MC and you got caught what would you do? Would you throw up your hands and admit everything? Or would you try and shift some of the blame onto someone else? Especially if you were unhappy in their employ........

In this case the FIA got it right. Without absolute proof they can't do much.

*but why go to that trouble for a company you intend to leave?

I don

Edited by Argento

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Andres is right about vicarious liability, but I don't know whether it applies here. Unless MC was acting for his employers, that is*. And anyway, if you were MC and you got caught what would you do? Would you throw up your hands and admit everything? Or would you try and shift some of the blame onto someone else? Especially if you were unhappy in their employ........

In this case the FIA got it right. Without absolute proof they can't do much.

*but why go to that trouble for a company you intend to leave?

"Vicarious liability"...good! I learnt something new!

Well, if a McLaren employee is caught with Ferrari documents, a reasonable assumption would be that he is intending to use it for his team benefit.

Anyways, as the FIA is a body in charge (in theory) of maintaining fair play, and that they are not bound to follow a strict court process for they are not a legal court, it would have been better if McLaren got at least a fine.

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Well, if a McLaren employee is caught with Ferrari documents, a reasonable assumption would be that he is intending to use it for his team benefit.

Another reasonable assumption is that he was going to use the information for his own (and Stepney's) gain - as he was looking to leave McLaren for a possible move to Honda.

I cannot see what more the FIA could have reasonably done - maybe that is why they are now calling on the 2 individuals involved to a hearing.

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"Vicarious liability"...good! I learnt something new!

Well, if a McLaren employee is caught with Ferrari documents, a reasonable assumption would be that he is intending to use it for his team benefit.

Anyways, as the FIA is a body in charge (in theory) of maintaining fair play, and that they are not bound to follow a strict court process for they are not a legal court, it would have been better if McLaren got at least a fine.

And that's what they cannot prove.

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Another reasonable assumption is that he was going to use the information for his own (and Stepney's) gain - as he was looking to leave McLaren for a possible move to Honda.

I cannot see what more the FIA could have reasonably done - maybe that is why they are now calling on the 2 individuals involved to a hearing.

Agreed. The FIA can't prove that MC did anything with the property, except photocopy it.. Something still does not add up.

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From formula1.com

"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.

"But if it is found in the future that the Ferrari information has been used to the detriment of the championship, we reserve the right to invite Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 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 WMSC will also invite Mr Stepney and Mr Coughlan to show reason why they should not be banned from international motor sport for a lengthy period and the WMSC has delegated authority to deal with this matter to the legal department of the FIA."

Pretty obvious that it would turn out like it did. If they were found guilty they would have to be excluded from the championship which would be an outrage without any evidence. It's semantics of course since no other employee was searched and if there was any evidence it's probably long gone. I wonder what will happen if Coughlan implicates others at Mclaren either by saying they knew about it or that he provided copies of the data. I guess even if everybody at Mclaren had a copy on their desk that would still not be sufficient unless someone admits the data was used. Ethically it's pretty obvious that the whole situation does not sound very flattering for Mclaren but the way the rules are written there can be no punishment since there is no middle ground. It's either innocent or excluded from the championship. I don't agree that use of the "moving floor" information would be a violation of the rules, they are simply informing the FIA about an illegal device another team is using. They're not using the information to improve their own car.

The obvious scenario with the upcoming exclusion of Stepney and Coughlan also seems to be on it's way to verification. I don't know what evidence exists about Stepney, maybe Coughlan has to "burn" him as part of the agreement or maybe Ferrari will come to a private arrangement with him.

Legally Ferrari could still sue Mclaren in a UK court for the actions of their employee.

Edited by kuskor

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Now it makes more sense. So, they decided a more "legal" approach. They won't act unless McLaren's benefit can be proved.

Personally, I think that, even if that sounds like a fair resolution, FIA is no legal court. As legal as this solution might sound, it still hurts the sport and McLaren's image. The focus should not be just in the assumption that McLaren would or would not benefit from this.

What would happen if McLaren makes an agreement with Coughlan and they keep him in their team?

I know that is unlikely, but if it happened, the situation would be disastrous for the sport.

FIA should have penalized McLaren. Maybe the banning would have been too much as the evidence is brittle at least, but a fine would have worked as a warning and deterrent for future similar actions, as well as forcing the teams to watch their employees actions better.

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Anything outside the quotes is my own assumption "Quiet one". Don't read too much into it. All I am saying is that if Ferrari are ultimately not satisfied by the actions of the FIA, they would always sue Mclaren for industrial espionage or damages in price money or sponsors if Mclaren win the Championship. I don't agree with a financial penalty solution, you are either in breech of the rules, or not.

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mmmm, Law in F1. I suggest if NS and MC are TRUELY innocent, that they get about preparing their legal suits for defamation. Oh that's right, they're probably not going to because they're probably NOT innocent.

What a waste of time and money.

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From formula1.com

"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.

"But if it is found in the future that the Ferrari information has been used to the detriment of the championship, we reserve the right to invite Vodafone McLaren Mercedes 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 WMSC will also invite Mr Stepney and Mr Coughlan to show reason why they should not be banned from international motor sport for a lengthy period and the WMSC has delegated authority to deal with this matter to the legal department of the FIA."

Here is the exact quote of the Rule

151. Breach of rules

Any of the following offences in addition to any offences specifically referred to previously, shall be deemed to be a breach of these rules :

c) Any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally.

I would call having your rivals data fraudulent conduct.

Merc is responsible for its employees just like parents are responsible for their children. The Sporting code states that they are. So Merc should have been punished, this just shows that the FIA and the WMSC are not doing their job

Maybe it is to protect wonder boy Hami from disgrace or Burnie exerting Financial pressure on the FIA and inturn the court, or something totally different but I do not believe that this is totally legit.

I have lost the last bit of confidence in the FIA with this. These happenings have hurt the sport and there is no way someone can say they haven't

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So they breached a rule and that's fine? Brilliant. They nailed a 2 race ban and 1 race disqualification for Honda when they could only get them on a 'lack of transparency' (also I believe down to evidence), but I believe I have read extracts from the rules, which suggest that the teams ARE seen as responsible for the actions of their employees.

I was under the impression they'd be punished for being in possession, but that it could be a bigger punishment i.e. more than a fine if they had been found to be using the documents.

I also have to think about if this wasn't Mclaren, but a certain other team whether there would be a big 'unfair' outrage, guess it goes to show that crazy decisions aren't just made in Ferrari's favour...

I doubt very much that today will be the last we hear of this.

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Same thing as US and UK did to Irak with the same kind of evidence? :lol:

FIA says that Coughlan did had these documents. So at least him is guilty of espionage, whether McLaren used the documents or not.

Now, there are two concepts in law called "Culpa in contraendo" and "Culpa in vigilando". They imply that you are responsible for the people you hire and for watching over them so they do not do anything illegal on your behalf. If a guy kills his wife, the company he works for won't share the guilt, of course. But if he does something that could be ultimately beneficial for the team, things aren't that simple.

I am not saying that they should be banned for espionage. But the least they deserved was a hefty fine for this. Now, as hattivatti said, espionage is legal, as long as noone can prove that you use it in your cars.

Sure....

Here is a better idea...

... so based on the evidence, the FIA should fine McLaren for one of their employees receiving the documents and they should fine Ferrari for one of their employees handing over the documents. :rolleyes:

Edited by shampion

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Sure....

Here is a better idea...

... so based on the evidence, the FIA should fine McLaren for one of their employees receiving the documents and they should fine Ferrari for one of their employees handing over the documents. :rolleyes:

I assume you are joking.

It is a proof of how weird is this all, however, the fact that in this case I am in favor of Ferrari and against McLaren. Just for making me do that I should burn the FIA's building to the ground.

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