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In what is an additional twist to the ongoing (and apparently never-ending) Stepney-saga, McLaren has been summoned to appear before an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motorsport Council on July 26th. They have been charged with “unauthorised possession of documents and confidential information belonging to Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, including information that could be used to design, engineer, build, check, test, develop and/or run a 2007 Ferrari Formula One car“. McLaren have in turn issued a statement saying they are not really happy with this latest development, and their only fault if any is to have hired a half-witted chief designer who could not do a simple job of photocopying documents without raising cain. Moreover they claim the documents were in the possession of above said ex-employee on ‘an unauthorized basis’ and ‘no element of it has been used in McLaren Formula 1 cars’. Well, how can they tell really? I mean, I think it is fairly logical to say unless you read a document, you cannot magically infer what is or is not in it, can you? Or maybe they are basing this on the assurances of Mike Coughlan. And that would be the chappie who not only apparently swiped 780 pages of Ferrari classified data, but was also caught making a photocopies of the same just in case he misplaced a couple of sets on the bus ride back home. Perhaps the idea of purchasing a cheap photocopier never occured to him. We do trust Ron Dennis will never stoop to cheating but McLaren will excuse us of course if we do not just take Coughlan’s word for what the Ferrari and McLaren cars have in common. And that includes the red paint.

Ron Dennis attempts to explain by starting off with the obvious – “Clearly if an individual has access to information that information is in that person” (Duh).  “Our system is a matrix system” he adds, “which means that the technical work we do is not a pyramid structure with one individual at the top, it is a flat structure”. That must be wonderful for McLaren we are sure, but what’s that got to do with anything really? We don’t care if the McLaren structure is a matrix, pyramid or a darned pentagon. All we care about is – how in the world did McLaren know about Ferrari floors – moving or not. I will spare you the details Dennis waxed on about, related to their R&D team structure, coffee break timings and office furniture. Essentially, the point he was trying to communicate was – “Therefore, I can categorically state that there are no developments, whatsoever, that have occurred in the months preceding 28th April or the months following 28th April and we can categorically demonstrate that to anybody who needs to have that information and of course that is the FIA“.

No developments…period? (Surely even a person with an IQ roughly that of a halibut will find that difficult to believe). Or no developments pinched from the Ferrari design documents? If it is the latter, then we are back to square one – and that would be how could Ron Dennis possibly know without reading the Ferrari design documents? And if Coughlan received the documents in March, then what the deuce is Ron on about 28th April – did he just pluck that date out of thin air? Too many questions, too few answers. We will keep you updated, as always. Forza.

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