autosport.com - F1 News: McLaren won't appeal WMSC verdict
McLaren won't appeal WMSC verdict
By Jonathan Noble Friday, September 21st 2007, 14:19 GMT
McLaren have decided not to appeal against the punishment they were handed for their involvement in Formula One's spying controversy.
The Woking-based team were excluded from this year's constructors' championship and handed a $100 million (USD) fine in the wake of chief designer Mike Coughlan being found with secret Ferrari documents in his possession.
After deliberating whether or not to appeal the verdict this week, with a deadline of 5pm CET today to notify the FIA of their plans, the team have decided against a challenge in the best interests of the sport.
They hope that the matter can now be put behind them as they focus on helping Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso win the drivers' championship.
Team boss Ron Dennis said: "We believe the time has come to put this huge distraction behind us. McLaren wants to win races and world championships.
"We are fortunate to have, and continue to receive, unwavering support from our employees, sponsor partners and Formula One fans across the world - all of whom are equally keen that we totally focus on winning this year's drivers' championship and the remaining three races of the season."
In a statement issued by the team on Friday, it said: "McLaren Racing has notified the FIA of its intention not to appeal the verdict of the World Motor Sport Council, as announced on 13th September 2007.
"Having now had time to study the judgement of the World Motor Sport Council with its lawyers and shareholders, McLaren thinks it is in the best interests of the sport, and its goal of winning races and world championships, not to appeal."
Although McLaren accept that Coughlan's possession of the documents was a breach of the F1 rules, the team still insists that no information was shared with other engineers at the team. It is also adamant that it gained no on-track benefit from the information.
The statement added: "It is clear from the full judgement that the World Motor Sport Council concluded that the charge that a McLaren employee had 'unauthorised possession of documents and confidential information' was proven.
"Despite the existence of no evidence that the information was applied, tested or shared with the engineering team (which it was not), this possession constitutes a breach of the Code.
"To our regret and embarrassment, the content of the previously unknown emails demonstrated possession not being limited to a single person, albeit unsanctioned in any way by the team. For this breach of Article 151c, a very heavy penalty has been imposed on the team.
"The major principle of the issue for McLaren is: this information was not used to gain advantage on its cars.
"Moving forwards, and in consultation with our shareholders, we will now review and further strengthen our internal compliance structures and processes."
McLaren's decision not to appeal means that Ferrari have now won the constructors' world championship.