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McLaren defer decision over appeal

McLaren will decide over the weekend if to appeal the World Motor Sport Council decision today to strip the team of their constructors standing and fine them with $100 million USD

Speaking at a team press conference following the announcement of the WMSC decision, McLaren F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh stated they will first study the reasoning behind the heavy penalty before making a decision on a possible appeal.

The FIA said it will publish the WMSC's full decision tomorrow.

"We believe we've got the grounds for an appeal," Whitmarsh said. "But of course we're going to wait for the findings of the FIA, which we believe are going to be published tomorrow, and we'll consider those carefully before we make that decision."

Prior to that, McLaren chief Ron Dennis gave his statement to the press, emphasizing again his that his team did not use confidential information from Ferrari.

"The most important thing is that we go motor racing this weekend, the rest of the season and every season," Dennis said. "This means that the drivers can continue to compete for the (drivers) world championship.

"However, having been at the hearing today, I do not accept that we deserve to be penalised or our reputations damaged in this way.

Today's evidence given to the FIA by our drivers, engineers and staff clearly demonstrated that we did not use any leaked information to gain a competitive advantage.

"Much has been made in the press and in the hearing today of emails and text messages to and from our drivers.

"The WMSC received statements from Fernando Alonso, Lewis Hamilton and Pedro de la Rosa stating categorically that no Ferrari information had been used by McLaren, and that they have not passed any confidential data to the team.

"The entire engineering team, in excess of 140 people, provided statements to the FIA confirming that they had never received or used Ferrari information.

"We have never denied that the information from Ferrari was in the personal possession of one of our employees, in his home. The issue is, was this information used by McLaren?

"This is not the case and has not been proven today."

Dennis reiterated that ex-Ferrari engineer Nigel Stepney and former McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan - the two men at the heart of this spying saga - acted for selfish reasons and not with the intention of assisting McLaren.

"We are also continually asked if McLaren didn't use the information, what was the reason for Stepney and Coughlan collecting all this data about Ferrari?" Dennis commented.

"We can only speculate as neither Coughlan nor Stepney gave evidence at today's hearing, but we do know that they were both seeking employment with other teams, as already confirmed by both Honda and Toyota."

Dennis also referred to the WMSC's decision to defer any decision on possible sanctions in 2008 after reviewing the team's car for next year.

"There will be no issue for the 2008 season, as we have not at any stage used any intellectual property of any other team," Dennis stated.

"We have got the best drivers and we have the best car, and we intend to win the world championship."

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