WMSC: Renault didn't benefit from data

The FIA's decision not to punish Renault for a breach of the regulations in their spy matter was down to the fact that it revolved around just four drawings of parts from a year-old car that the team gained no benefit from

WMSC: Renault didn't benefit from data

That is the conclusion that emerged on Friday in a statement detailing why the World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) had not punished Renault despite them being found guilty of possession of McLaren technical information.

The FIA statement revealed that evidence discovered during detailed examination of the situation surrounding documents taken from McLaren by Renault engineer Phil Mackereth showed that only a few items had been shown within the former world championship-winning team.

Although the amount of information Mackereth took when he left McLaren in September 2006 was deemed to have been 'significant' by the FIA, it was discovered that a vast majority of this had not been shown to anyone else inside Renault.

It was concluded that he had shown only four drawing to other Renault employees - which were of the fuel systems, gearbox layout and damper designs.

The FIA ruled, however, that the team had gained absolutely no benefit from this matter - even though a drawing of McLaren's J-damper had formed the basis of an attempted rule clarification by Renault.

The statement said: "The WMSC has concluded that of the four drawings actually viewed by Renault's engineers, three were either of no use to Renault or were not in fact used by Renault. The fourth drawing (a drawing of McLaren's so-called 'J-damper') was used by Renault in that Renault admits taking it into account in preparing a request to the FIA for a clarification of whether a particular hypothetical system was within the rules (rather than for the purposes of copying it).

"The fact that Renault fundamentally misunderstood the operation of the system suggests that the 'J-damper' drawing did not reveal to Renault enough about the system for the championship to have been affected."

In light of the way in which McLaren were eventually fined $100 million (USD) and thrown out of the constructors' championship, the WMSC claim that the two cases are very different.

"The McLaren confidential information brought to Renault was in the context of an F1 engineer changing teams," said the statement. "It was not 'live' information in the sense that there is no evidence of a flow of current information between competing teams.

"After leaving McLaren, Mackereth had no further access to current or updated McLaren information. Nor is there any evidence that Renault encouraged Mackereth in any way to bring the confidential information from McLaren."

The FIA did note, however, that the Mackereth situation should have been resolved sooner by Renault when it became clear that he had illegal McLaren intellectual property in his possession.

"The WMSC notes with strong disapproval the fact that there were individuals of sufficient seniority within Renault who should have known that the drawings that Mackereth showed them contained proprietary confidential information.

"This organisational failing meant that they did not report the matter to their line managers as they should have done. Had they done so, the matter may have been brought to the FIA's attention at a far earlier stage."

It added: "In these circumstances, although a number of very unsatisfactory elements were noted during the deliberations, in assessing the gravity of the breach, the WMSC concluded that there was insufficient evidence to establish that the information was used in such a way as to interfere with or to have an impact on the Championship."

The WMSC has reserved the right, however, to reopen the case if fresh evidence comes to light that suggest the team did gain a benefit from the information.

"It should be noted that in the event of new information coming to light which calls into question the WMSC's conclusions in this decision, this matter may be re-opened by the FIA," the statement said.

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