Bernie crosses fingers ahead of spy hearing

Thu, 26 July 2007, 12:37

Bernie Ecclestone has revealed that he will also have his fingers crossed when McLaren is put under the spotlight in Thursday’s emergency hearing of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris.

F1’s chief executive, who will sit alongside FIA president Max Mosley inside the FIA headquarters at Place de la Concorde at 9.30am, hopes any sanctions for espionage will not affect the outcome of a stirring four-way battle for the world championship.

“Please God, (I hope) nothing’s gone wrong and it will all be a lot of nonsense,” he is quoted as saying by The Times.

Ecclestone, 76, thinks the accusation of spying between Ferrari and McLaren has already negatively detracted from the track action this year.

“I don’t like it,” he admits.

Alongside Spanish steward Joaquin Verdegay, then, Ecclestone is the second member of the 26-strong World Council to indicate that he will not be voting to either disqualify Ron Dennis’ Woking based team or interrupt the battle for the title by, for example, docking championship points.

He said of the scandal: “Maybe it’s nothing to do with one of the teams and maybe it’s (just) the people.”

Maranello based Ferrari, however, disagree.

A document lodged by Ferrari in the London High Court, obtained by the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera and The Guardian, claims it is “likely” that McLaren is only leading the world championship at present because of the information illegally sent by sacked employee Nigel Stepney.

The document says the fact that McLaren’s suspended chief designer Mike Coughlan “was in possession of the Ferrari documents has given McLaren an unfair advantage over Ferrari” in 2007.

Ferrari also estimates the cost of possibly losing the championship at “at least” (US) $7.5 million, and said the Italian marque may additionally “suffer loss in respect of damage to the Ferrari brand”.

Late on Wednesday, McLaren said the team would not comment on the issue.

You may also like