autosport.com - F1 News: Mercedes reaffirms its commitment
Mercedes reaffirms its commitment
By Jonathan Noble Tuesday, September 18th 2007, 12:19 GMT
Mercedes-Benz has insisted that it is totally committed to Formula One and its partnership with McLaren, despite the controversy over the spy affair.
Although McLaren have lost all of their constructors' championship points for this year and been fined $100 million (USD), their engine partner Mercedes-Benz has made it clear that the matter will have no dent on its devotion to the sport.
Mercedes-Benz motorsport boss Norbert Haug was quoted as saying by The Guardian on Tuesday that his company was not entertaining any change of plan in the wake of recent events.
When asked whether Mercedes-Benz stood by F1 as it did before the verdict, Haug said: "Of course we do. This is not up for discussion. We also stand by our partner McLaren. And we refrain from putting the blame on anybody."
Then speaking about whether or not there were any worries about a possible withdrawal by Mercedes-Benz, Haug said: "No worries at all. And I don't make out the image problems we are supposed to have. On the contrary, we get a lot of support and encouragement from outside."
Haug's comments come in the wake of a statement issued by Mercedes-Benz last week, in which it made clear that it wholly supported McLaren's stance that it had not used any of the Ferrari information that is at the centre of the case.
It also pointed out that the FIA had not accepted invitations from McLaren to inspect their car to proove the team's innocence.
The statement, issued on Friday, said: "Our partner McLaren stated absolutely clearly that our Formula 1 car does not incorporate any third-party concepts or ideas from design drawings created outside the team. The same applies to speculation concerning knowledge of other teams' race strategies, the distribution of weight in F1 cars, etc.
"Mr. Coughlan, the team member involved and suspended since the allegations emerged on 3 July, confirmed in a statutory declaration that at no point in time did he pass on any of the material to McLaren, which he received privately from a member of the team which currently ranks immediately behind us.
"Our partner McLaren repeatedly suggested to FIA that our F1 car should be examined and checked against the competitor's documents; however, FIA has not made use of this offer to this day.
"No evidence of any culpable action has been submitted or made known to McLaren to date, and McLaren states that the team has not been involved in any culpable action whatsoever."