Salo clarifies Ferrari spying comment

Former Ferrari driver Mika Salo on Saturday clarified comments made to a Finnish newspaper suggesting that the Italian team had routinely spied on Formula One rivals McLaren in the past

Salo clarifies Ferrari spying comment

"What has been published in Ilta-Sanomat does not match the thoughts I wanted to express," the Finn said in a clarification provided by Ferrari.

"I would therefore like to make it clear that I was only referring to Formula One in the late nineties, when radio technology was still at an almost amateurish level, which meant it could happen that some radio conversations could be listened to randomly because of interference."

Salo was quoted on Friday, after a hearing of the sport's governing body into a spy controversy that has gripped Formula One, as saying that when he drove for Ferrari "we always spied on McLaren, listening to their radio traffic.

"After every practice session I had in front of me, on paper, all the discussions Mika Hakkinen had had with his engineer."

The Finn drove six times for Ferrari in 1999, twice finishing on the podium, after Michael Schumacher broke his leg in a crash at Silverstone. Compatriot Hakkinen was the world champion for McLaren at the time.

Salo subsequently drove a season for Ferrari-powered Sauber before seeing out his career at Toyota in 2002.

Ferrari were incensed after the governing International Automobile Federation (FIA) found McLaren guilty of a breach of the rules at a hearing in Paris on Thursday but imposed no penalty on the Mercedes-powered team.

McLaren, whose chief designer Mike Coughlan has been suspended after a significant quantity of Ferrari information was found at his home, lead Ferrari by 27 points in the championship with seven races remaining.

The FIA found there was insufficient evidence that McLaren, who argued that Coughlan was acting in isolation, had used the information "in such a way as to interfere improperly" with the championship.

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