Brunner 'astounded' by criminal charges
|By Michele Lostia||Tuesday, January 17th 2006, 10:37 GMT|
Former Toyota chief designer Gustav Brunner said he was "astounded" to find out the German legal authorities have decided to indict him for using technology stolen from Ferrari to test racing car aerodynamics.
Brunner was named by the Cologne prosecution alongside former team chief Ove Andersson and former head of aerodynamics Rene Hilhorst, but the Austrian - who is currently on a 'gardening' leave until his Toyota contract expires in the summer - said he received no official word on the charges and in fact learned of the indictment through the media.
"Me indicted? I can't believe it," Brunner told Italy's SportAutoMoto. "No one has told me anything about it. Never has my name been linked with this story, also because I have nothing to do with it.
"I have never been mentioned before, nor has any lawyer, judge, prosecutor or other ever contacted me. Never have there been any inquiry directly on me, nor have there been inspections on my computer and my documentation.
"I don't really understand how and why this is all coming out now, and this is something that annoys me greatly."
Brunner - along with Andersson and Hilhorst - is accused of violating German competition law by using a data analysis computer programme that was allegedly copied illegally by a technician who joined the Toyota team from Ferrari in early 2002.
According to the Cologne prosecutors, the Toyota men used the programme in 2002 and 2003 to develop the team's Formula One cars even though they knew the software had been obtained illegally.
But Brunner denied all accusations against him. "I'm simply astounded," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "The F2002 won everything, while we didn't achieve much the following year. But besides that, in Toyota there never was any data or software about Ferrari or others doing the rounds.
"Maybe someone could have had material of little importance from his previous job at his own place, but never at Toyota Motorsport.
"My project was born completely in Cologne, without any kind of aids. And besides, even with the data from another car, it's difficult to copy, because an F1 car is a complex universe. It's not enough to have two characteristics."
Brunner added he was confident the charges will be rejected and his name exonerated. "I feel calm," he said. "I've never copied something in my life, and this issue will be cleared."