Newspaper quotes from de la Rosa-Alonso email

Sat, 8 September 2007, 03:48

An Italian newspaper on Friday published excerpts of what it claims is the ‘new evidence’ that could cast a pall over formula one and, particularly, Ron Dennis’ McLaren team.

Following the FIA’s confirmation that one or more of the team’s drivers could be in possession of key evidence, La Gazzetta dello Sport quoted sections of an email exchange between test driver Pedro de la Rosa and his Spanish countryman, world champion Fernando Alonso.

“Do you know that I’ve found out how Ferrari is able to get its tires to work to perfection?” de la Rosa, 36, was quoted as writing to Alonso earlier this year.

He added: “Nigel Stepney told Mike Coughlan.”

“I don’t believe it,” Alonso reportedly replied.

If de la Rosa is proved to have known not only about Coughlan’s possession of the 780-page Ferrari dossier but also its contents, the ramifications could be grave for leading management of the Mercedes-powered team, another Italian newspaper claimed on Friday.

McLaren already faces the prospect of a two-season disqualification at next Thursday’s extraordinary hearing of the World Motor Sport Council, and the newspaper La Repubblica said team boss Ron Dennis and seven others – including Coughlan and Nigel Stepney – could also be charged criminally and even jailed.

The Rome based daily said prosecutors in Modena believe “senior figures within McLaren” have known about, used and withheld their knowledge about the Ferrari secrets since March.

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