Skip to main content
The Circuit
  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print

World champion linked to F1 'Spygate'

  • Story Highlights
  • Info on Ferrari car exchanged between Coughlan, de la Rosa and Alonso
  • 780-page dossier not the only information leaked from Ferrari
  • WMSC believes McLaren given a "significant sporting advantage" from the leak
  • Lewis Hamilton not implicated in the affair
  • Next Article in World Sport »
By James Snodgrass for CNN
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font

LONDON, England (CNN) -- World champion Fernando Alonso was directly implicated in the Formula 1 spy scandal, according to emails released by the sport's governing body.

Fernando Alonso will not punished because he gave evidence in exchange for immunity.

The FIA World Motor Sports Council on Friday published a detailed report into its decision to fine McClaren a record $100 million and expel the team from this year's constructors' championship over its appropriation of confidential Ferrari data.

The ruling on McLaren's breach of Article 151(c) of the International Sporting Code reveals that the scale of the scandal ran deeper than previously reported and that two drivers -- Alonso and test driver Pedro de la Rosa -- are implicated in the affair.

The FIA said Thursday McLaren's drivers would not be punished because they gave evidence in exchange for immunity.

Lewis Hamilton, who also drives for McLaren, told the FIA he had no information relating to the breach.

The breach relates to confidential information supplied to McLaren's technical director, Mike Coughlan from Ferrari performance director Nigel Stepney. Previously the breach was thought to be limited to a 780-page dossier but it has now transpired that there was regular contact between Coughlan and Stepney.

It has been revealed that Pedro de la Rosa wrote to Coughlan by email on March 21 2007: "Hi Mike do you know the Red Car's [Ferrari's] weight distribution? It would be important for us to know so that we could try it in the simulator."

De la Rosa confirmed to the WMSC council that he received a text message from Coughlan with precise details of the Ferrari cars' weight distribution.

Four days later, de la Rosa sent an email to Fernando Alonso, informing him of the Ferrari cars' weight distribution -- to two decimal places -- as raced at the Australian Grand Prix a week earlier.

Alonso replied, questioning whether the information was 100 per cent accurate. De la Rosa replied: "All the information from Ferrari is very reliable. It comes from Nigel Stepney, their former chief mechanic ... he's the same person who told us in Australia that Kimi was stopping in lap 18. He's very friendly with Mike Coughlan, our Chief Designer, and he told him that."

De la Rosa also brought Alonso's attention to a gas used by Ferrari to inflate its tires to keep down internal temperature and reduce blistering.

In Alonso's reply the Spanish driver states that McLaren should test the Ferrari gas in its own tires. "They have something different from the rest," he wrote, "... let's hope we can test it during this test, and that we can make it a priority!"

On April 12, de la Rosa wrote to Coughlan requesting information about Ferrari's braking system, to which Coughlan replied: "We are looking at something similar."

The WMSC concluded that, despite McLaren having an incomplete description of Ferrari's braking system, the McLaren system "was being worked on from a position of knowledge of the details of the Ferrari system, which, even if the Ferrari system not being directly copied, must be more advantageous to McLaren than designing a system without such knowledge."

Most damaging to McLaren is the evidence that the 780-page dossier was not the entire breach. Evidence submitted to Ferrari by the Italian Police, who studied records of telephone, SMS and email contacts between Coughlan and Stepney suggest that the pair exchanged at least 288 text messages and 35 telephone call between March 11 and July 3, 2007.

The Italian police also noted that Ferrari's chief mechanic Federico Uguzzoni, was suspicious of Stepney when he requested technical details pertaining to Ferrari tests in Malaysia.


The report continued: "The WMSC believes that the nature of the information illicitly held by McLaren was information of a nature which, if used in any way taken into account, could confer a significant sporting advantage upon McLaren."

McLaren is considering making an appeal against the verdict. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

  • E-mail
  • Save
  • Print