BBC Home

Explore the BBC


user rating: 4 star

Renault accused of McLaren spying

Formula One
by Andrew Benson (U1647787) 08 November 2007
comment on the article

Renault have been summoned before Formula One's governing body to answer a charge of possessing confidential McLaren technical information.

The team are to appear before the FIA world motorsport council on 6 December.

McLaren were fined $100m (47.5m) and thrown out of the constructors' championship after being found guilty on a similar charge in September.

The information included "the layout and critical dimensions of the McLaren F1 car", an FIA statement said.

Read the full story here and tell us what you think.

Latest 10 comments

Read members' comments or add your own

posted Nov 12, 2007

So we have an issue that an engineer moved teams and took with him knowledge, the only answer is to employ anyone leaving a team on gardening leave for the whole of the off season, as is done in large corporations, that way he can't have up to date knowledge by any other than foul means.

As for this case, well it all depends, if he took discs to Renault he is most certainly in the wrong, if he only took knowledge in his head then he's not, fairly simple thinks I.

add comment | complain about this comment

posted Nov 12, 2007

It is not unusual for people to move from one company to another, having in their possesion information from the company they departed from, be this in written, data, or from their own memories. I have left one leading manufacturer in a particular field, to another. I have information in my possesion. We as a manufacturer do not copy and use their technology, but I can help from the mistakes they made to help make a better product using other technology. I would say this is common practice across alot of manufacturers of many different products, so why is it not suprising that Renault have this data from an ex McLaren employee. It certainly does not mean they have used it, but the former employee may have made recomendations that may have influenced the design of the car from their experience. The FIA will not find this out, nor will Renault say they used it. The only way round this, is when people leave teams, there needs to be a period of time, say a season, where they cannot move to another team, goes for drivers too! They carry alot of information themselves. We all know this cannot happen, so its got to be down to the teams to just accept information will be passed around.

add comment | complain about this comment

posted Nov 12, 2007

Interesting, - Briatori says that they have witness statements from every engineer that was involved and, categorically, everybody says that there was no influence of any of these things on the design of the car. - So did McLaren but the FIA chose not to believe them - Wonder if part ownership of a football club with Ecclestone who just happens to have a tiny bit of influence with Mosley will make the Renault statements more believable!

add comment | complain about this comment

posted Nov 12, 2007

As has been pointed out, this is covered in law. I dont see the issue of changes taking place off season but engineers must declare their intent a couple of months before the end of season.

Personally, I'm tied down to 12 months notice and if I go to the competition, I can be put on gardening leave (might get the grass cut). Not only this but there are covenants in my contract relating to who I can and cant talk to for 6 months after I leave.

Get a decent lawyer, decent contracts and if an engineers takes private data from his previous employer go for him or her and the recipient. I am an design engineer by training and I can tell you that you would only have to do it once or twice and it would kill the problem dead.

As has been pointed out, the only thing you can take is whats in your head, anything you did as part of your employment for your previous employer, written down, on disk or some other medium by definition is the IP of the man paying you at the time.

add comment | complain about this comment

posted Nov 12, 2007

From reading all the different post it seems that "most"people are speaking very good sense..real world sense if you like. However the pivotal issue which seems to be escaping everyone is that because of the Mclaren Case, a precedence has been set and the FIA has to now use this precedence as a guide when dealing with similar cases. If anyone cares to super-impose the protestations of Briatore with Ron Denis you will see that they are saying the same thing almost word for word.Which clearly cut no ice with the FIA

So again the issue is not whether they use the info or how they acquired it (mclaren claim the same thing),or even who saw it. but whether they were in "Possession" of that information, and got ideas from it

Renault are clearly in Possession of the information and cannot prove just like MM that they didn't get any Ideas from it. IF (and its a big IF..the FIA are to remain fair they have to be as severe on Renault as they were on MM because they are both Guilty of Possession and as any Junior Lawyer will tell you."Possession is 9 tenths of the Law"

So a real world example is if you get caught with a 9mm pistol you will still get done by the Law , its irrelevant how you got it or whether you intend to blag a bank with it or not. So becuase the "Foolish Idiots Assembled" (FIA)used an Iron Fist in an Iron Glove against MM they have to be equally harsh on renault.Otherwise the run the risk of a lawsuit from MM and Mad Max will be seen as Tocamada the Grand Inquister for his biased persecution of said organisation... I for one cannot wait to see how they extricate themselves from this holy mess...what a bunch of plebs. tee-hee-hee!!!Go on Maxie, My Son!!!

add comment | complain about this comment

posted Nov 13, 2007

Renault are French, France collaborated with the Nzis in WW2, as did Italy, so I would think Moseley would lean towards renault being innocent.....wait and see

add comment | complain about this comment

comment by Adam M (U1747235)

posted Nov 18, 2007

comment by Rain Master
posted Last Week

"Easy solution - Give McLaren their money and WCC points back. Give them their appeal over Hungary and then give them back the WCC!"


Mclaren lost even the WCC on points. Even if all their points are returned, they still lose to Ferrari after Lewis bothched it and came seventh in the final race and a Ferrari 1-2.


Rain Master! I think you are wrong. Kimi won the title by 1 point. Hamilton and Alonso were level 1 point adrift. That would mean if massa was 1 point behind them the constructors points for Mclaren and Ferrari would be level. He was more than 1 point adrift.

At least I think so, anyway. I'm going from memory here.

add comment | complain about this comment

posted Nov 18, 2007

when peeps are talking about a precedent being set and therefore concluding that a team charged with the same offence should face the same penalty is absolute ridiculous it is like saying a woman who killed her husband should face the same penalty as a man who savagely and brutally murdered a child.. where on gods earth is there any logic in that?

the renault case is not the same as the maclaren case, this is about the circumstances of how they came into possession and no one can argue that maclaren got caught with their hands in the till.. maclaren actively sought the information.. cant say the say for renault.

add comment | complain about this comment

posted Nov 18, 2007

should have read

"a woman who kills her brutal sadist husband after 20 years of savage abuse" be treated the same as...

add comment | complain about this comment

Comment on this article

Sorry, you can only contribute to 606 during opening hours. These are 0900-2300 UK time, seven days a week, but may vary to accommodate sporting events and UK public holidays.


Rate Breakdown

  • 5 40.00%
    8 votes
  • 4 15.00%
    3 votes
  • 3 25.00%
    5 votes
  • 2
    0 votes
  • 1 20.00%
    4 votes

average rating:
3.55 from 20 votes