PARIS -- The McLaren Formula One team was charged by the
sport's governing body Thursday with unauthorized possession of
secret Ferrari documents.
McLaren was summoned to appear before FIA's world motor sport
council in Paris on July 26 to explain how it gained possession of
the documents, including information that can be used to design,
engineer, build, check, test, develop and run a 2007 Ferrari F1 car.
The case reached the High Court in London on Wednesday when
McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan, who was suspended by his team
last week when documents were found in his house, agreed to tell
Ferrari how he got hold of its design secrets.
Coughlan has been linked to Ferrari's head of performance Nigel
Stepney, who has already been fired by the team for allegedly
sending the 780-page technical document to Coughlan.
Stepney has denied it, although Ferrari won a court order to
search the Coughlans' home and the documents were found, along with
computers which are set to be examined by experts.
Ferrari has also taken legal action in Italy against Stepney.
McLaren team chief Ron Dennis has maintained his team did not
break any rules.
The FIA did not say what sanctions could be taken against
McLaren if found guilty of breaking rules. It's possible the team
could face a points deduction or expulsion from the championship.
McLaren's Lewis Hamilton leads the drivers' standings with 70
points ahead of teammate Fernando Alonso (58) with Ferrari's Kimi
Raikkonen (52) and Felipe Massa (51) third and fourth. In the
constructors' championship, McLaren has 128 points and Ferrari is
second with 103.
The next race is at the Nuerburgring in Germany on July 22.