About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

27 July 2007


There has been a spy scandal of epic proportions brewing in the Formula 1 paddock. The story so far, in point form:
  1. Ferrari announce that they are investigating Nigel Stepney (part of the dream quartet) for sabotage. Eyebrows are raised, internal politics is the general consensus.
  2. A copy shop in the UK alerts Ferrari that their IP is being copied in their shop.
  3. The person doing the copying was the wife of Mike Coughlan, chief designer of rivals, and current points leader, McLaren.
  4. Coughlan home is searched by the police, and a 780 page dossier of Ferrari data, plans etc. of the current Ferrari F1 car, tests, practices etc. is found
  5. Stepney and Coughlan are both good friends, going back years.
  6. Stepney and Coughlan both approached Nick Fry of Honda for a potential job as they were both tired of their current environment.
  7. McLaren gets hauled off in front of the FIA World Motor Sport Council charged with the breach of article 151c of the International Sporting Code, which basically states that they were in possession of rival team's data without consent (i.e. espionage).
  8. The FIA finds McLaren guilty of possession but they hand out no punishment, because there is insufficient proof that McLaren used the data they had access to! The FIA does provide for future punishments though. Full FIA statement.
And this is where it all becomes farcical! What's the point of finding them guilty of one charge (a very serious charge at that, whose maximum sentence is the ultimate: expulsion) but not hand out any punishment? One thinking behind why no punishment was given is that there is a close championship battle, so docking points or exclusion would harm the show. Fine, what about monetary fines? The FIA fined the Turkish GP organisers 5 million US Dollars for hosting a controversial podium celebration!

This is off course not the end of the story. The full spy saga has a long way to go, and there are a lot of questions that need to be answered, including Coughlan got the data in the first place. As for the Honda link, no idea if they are involved. But the FIA's current decision is neither here nor there ... and just plain stupid.


Unknown said...

I used to watch F1, but my interest started dying as more silly rule changes came into effect and now that Schumacer has retired I haven't watched at all this year. I've heard bits and pieces of this saga, but your post makes me wonder what F1 is turning into.

They can't seem to find a good balance between business and enjoyment. The stealing of IP is the business aspect, whereas it *appears* the decision not to hand out a punishment falls under enjoyment, i.e. preventing a drop in enjoyment by docking of points. My honest feeling is that if they were proven guilty, they should be disqualified from at least a couple races, if not the whole season. Look at what happens in any other business area when IP is stolen!!

phathu said...

i think Mclaren paid Ferrari in the background to keep the story down. They also dont want another scandal hitting the spot