IN DEPTH REPORT: The F1 spy saga timeline PDF Print E-mail
The Formula 1 spy saga now drags on for months. Ferrari accuses Nigel Stepney of ditributing 780 pages of Ferrari designs, diagrams, data and more. McLaren's Coughlan is suspended by the Woking based team because he was in the posession of these materials. Meanwhile Stepney claims Ferrari wages a "dirty tricks campaign" against him. So what actually happened when? Take a look at the timeline.

19 September 2007

McLaren Meeting FIA (13-09-2007) transcript

Motor Sport Council (26-07-07) transcript)

The more studious sections of the formula one world on Wednesday are grappling with nearly 200 pages of 'spy saga' transcripts. The full documents, outlining every word uttered in the July and September World Motor Sport Council hearings, were released on Wednesday by the FIA; but - according to one source - an initial error meant that confidential sections, that had been requested removed by McLaren and Ferrari, could easily be exposed. 

18 September 2007

David Richards gives Stepney new job

Nigel Stepney, whose alleged actions of sabotage and espionage sparked F1's infamous spying affair this year, has landed a new job, according to reports.The Briton, fired and now pursued civilly by the Maranello based team and also by criminal prosecutors in Italy, will shortly begin work at Aston Martin in the UK, the Italian sports daily La Gazzetta dello Sport reports on Tuesday.

17 September 2007

Jean Todt: Very soft sentence
Ferrari team principal Jean Todt said that he feels the 2007 Drivers' championship could be very different if McLaren appeal the penalty imposed on them at the World Council last week. He also called the $100m penalty and loss of Constructors' points 'soft' and suggested that an appeal could provoke an even more serious penalty.

15 September 2007

Max Mosley: McLaren should been excluded for 2007, 2008
Max Mosley suggested on Friday that McLaren got off lightly with a $100m fine and exclusion from the 2007 constructors' championship. The FIA president at Spa-Francorchamps made it clear that he was not among the group of World Motor Sport Council members last Thursday who battled to minimise the team's sanction for espionage.  He said it is his "personal opinion" that McLaren "logically" should have also lost the drivers' points as well.
"Everyone can have an opinion, and this was the opinion of the majority," he said, "but the simpler solution would have been exclusion for 2007 and 2008."

14 September 2007

Alonso likely to leave McLaren

Following the espionage scandal verdict, Fernando Alonso is almost certain to leave the McLaren team to join Renault next year, according to a newspaper. The Berlin based daily newspaper Die Welt reiterated on Friday that the Spaniard's current contract includes an exit clause that will have been triggered due to McLaren's exclusion from the constructors' championship. "A return to Renault for Alonso is considered very probable," the newspaper contended.

14 September 2007

FIA proof reveals driver 'spy' emails
Emails between Fernando Alonso and Pedro de la Rosa were central to the evidence that led to the disqualification and $100m fine imposed on McLaren. The FIA revealed a 15-page dossier of the evidence to the media at Spa-Francorchamps on Friday, which showed that the confidential Ferrari information sent by Nigel Stepney to Mike Coughlan had indeed been used by the Woking based team.  "All the information from Ferrari is very reliable," test driver de la Rosa wrote in one email to world champion Alonso.

14 September 2007

FIA official release regarding McLaren
An extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council was held in Paris on 13 September, 2007. The following decision was taken:  “The WMSC has stripped Vodafone McLaren Mercedes of all constructor points in the 2007 FIA Formula One World Championship and the team can score no points for the remainder of the season.*  “Furthermore, the team will pay a fine equal to $100m, less the FOM income lost as a result of the points deduction.
“However, due to the exceptional circumstances in which the FIA gave the team’s drivers an immunity in return for providing evidence, there is no penalty in regard to drivers’ points.**

13 September 2007

McLaren disqualified: Ron Dennis statement
Ron Dennis statement: “The most important thing is that we will be going motor racing this weekend, the rest of the season and every season. This means that our drivers can continue to compete for the World Championship. However having been at the hearing today I do not accept that we deserved to be penalised in this way.”

13 September 2007

Ferrari is satisfied with decision
Ferrari release: Ferrari acknowledges the decision of the FIA to sanction Vodafone McLaren Mercedes for its breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code. In light of new evidence, facts and behaviour of an extremely serious nature and grossly prejudicial to the interest of the sport have been further demonstrated. Ferrari is satisfied that the truth has now emerged. 
13 September 2007

McLaren DSQ, fined $100m, drivers free to race
Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton will continue to battle for the 2007 drivers' championship after the McLaren drivers escaped penalty in the protracted World Motor Sport Council hearing in Paris.
F1's governing body, however, has otherwise come down hard on Ron Dennis' Woking based team, disqualifying it from the 2007 constructors' championship and imposing a record (US) $100m fine.

12 September 2007

McLaren tried to involve Renault in spy case
A FIA spokesman has strengthened speculation that McLaren tried to drag Renault into F1's escalating espionage affair ahead of the World Council hearing on Thursday. Following rumours that boss Ron Dennis is in possession of potentially explosive evidence that could incriminate the French team as well as Ferrari, the governing body was contacted for comment.  ITV quotes a FIA spokesman as confirming that "certain matters regarding Renault F1" have been raised in recent days by McLaren, as the Woking based team prepares to face new and potentially damning evidence at the World Motor Sport Council on Thursday.

10 September 2007

Journalist admits Alonso-de la Rosa email fake
A journalist has admitted that he invented the contents of the supposed email that may be part of FIA's 'new evidence' against McLaren. As the espionage saga scaled new heights in the Monza paddock, La Gazzetta dello Sport  published this exchange between Pedro de la Rosa and Fernando Alonso: "Do you know that I've found out how Ferrari is able to get its tires to work to perfection?" de la Rosa said.

08 September 2007

More details about police at Monza
McLaren team boss Ron Dennis was served with an 'avviso di garanzia'; a formal warning that he is to be investigated by criminal prosecutors in the northern region of Modena.  The notice lists Dennis' alleged wrongdoings as frode sportive (sporting fraud), rivelazione di segreto industriale (industrial espionage), and another unknown offence, with relation to the so-called spy saga involving the British team's championship rival Ferrari.

08 September 2007

Alonso admits giving spy evidence to FIA
Reigning world champion Fernando Alonso has admitted to supplying evidence relating to the espionage scandal to F1's governing body. But, with rumours circulating at Monza that his actions were vindictive and designed to help him ease out of his unhappy situation at McLaren, the Spaniard insisted that the FIA forced his hand.

07 September 2007

FIA releases letter send to Hamilton, Alonso and de la Rosa
In the interests of complete transparency the FIA has decided to publish the text of the letter written to Fernando Alonso, Pedro de la Rosa and Lewis Hamilton on August 31st, 2007. It should be clear from the contents of the letter that the three McLaren drivers were required to cooperate fully with the FIA in the completion of its investigation. 

06 September 2007
F1's governing body does indeed suspect that "one or more McLaren drivers" are involved in the espionage affair. Following speculation at Monza, a letter sent by FIA president Max Mosley to the teams has now come to light at the scene of the Italian grand prix.

05 September 2007

FIA says 'new evidence' in spy saga
The espionage saga involving McLaren and Ferrari took a fresh turn. F1's governing body revealed in a statement that it has received "new evidence" and had therefore decided to convene another hearing of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris.
The meeting will happen on September 13, in the place of an appeal of the original July 26 decision to not penalise Ron Dennis' Woking based team for spying on its Italian rivals.

05 September 2007

An Italian magistrate has decided to prolong investigations of alleged sabotage waged against Ferrari by sacked former chief mechanic Nigel Stepney. Parallel to the widely reported espionage saga, Stepney is also accused of trying to ruin the Maranello based marque's Monaco grand prix this year by adding white powder to the cars' fuel tanks.

08 August 2007

FIA books September date for spy appeal
As expected, the appeal against the World Council's espionage saga verdict will be heard by the International Court of Appeal in the second week of September. F1's governing body, the FIA, booked the McLaren case for September 13, it confirmed in a statement.

04 August 2007

Todt turned down offer to solve spy crisis - Dennis
Ron Dennis said his Ferrari counterpart Jean Todt turned down an offer to settle the espionage scandal away from the courts. The Spanish news agency EFE quoted the McLaren CEO, chairman and team principal as confirming that he had spoken to Todt in recent days to also investigate ways to resolve the dispute away from the circus of public spotlight.

03 August 2007

F1 spies should be punished - Briatore
Renault's Flavio Briatore thinks it is important that the FIA comes to the right decision about McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan's possession of reams of Ferrari secrets. "If they had that information then they should be punished," he said. "Really it is simple," he said.  "The rules need to be respected, and those who do not respect them must be punished."

31 July 2007

McLaren statement: "Ferrari thoroughly misleading"
McLaren reacted today about the appeal of Ferrari: Following a thoroughly misleading press campaign by Ferrari and pressure from the Automobile Club D’ Italia, the FIA has asked the FIA International Court of Appeal to consider the unanimous decision made by the World Motor Sport Council on 26th July 2007. Whilst this is both disappointing and time-consuming, McLaren is confident that the FIA International Court of Appeal will also exonerate McLaren.

31 July 2007

Mosley agrees to re-open McLaren spy case
FIA president Max Mosley agrees to send the espionage case against McLaren to the governing body's Court of Appeal. Following the written request of Ferrari's national sanctioning organisation, the Automobile Club d'Italia (ACI), Mosley said it was right to further investigate the case because Ferrari had not been allowed to present evidence in last Thursday's hearing of the World Motor Sport Council.

31 July 2007

'Ferrari spy on me' - Stepney
Nigel Stepney has turned the heat back onto Ferrari by claiming that his former Italian employer is still spying on him. "They can do whatever they want to me but they have dragged my family into this," said Stepney, who claims he is the victim of a set-up.He added: "Someone gave away the (780 pages of) designs but it wasn't me. "Someone set me up and that person is still working for Ferrari.

27 July 2007

Furious Ferrari to now sue McLaren
Furious Ferrari chiefs indicate that they may appeal the FIA's decision not to penalise McLaren for spying.

26 July 2007

No penalty for guilty McLaren - FIA
F1's governing body announces that McLaren will not be penalised following a meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris. A statement, however, revealed that the 26 Council members did find Ron Dennis' outfit guilty of breaching the International Sporting Code for possessing confidential Ferrari information.

20 July 2007

Stepney, Ferrari, step up legal attacks
It is reported that Nigel Stepney may also have telephoned and emailed Mike Coughlan with tip-offs about Maranello based Ferrari -- including its moveable floor.
It is a fact that McLaren asked the FIA for a clarification about the underbody rules at the Australian grand prix this season, which resulted in Ferrari having to change the design.

20 July 2007
Stepney's Italian lawyer Sonia Bartolini reveales that Ferrari has turned down her client's request for a meeting with team boss Jean Todt.

18 July 2007
Nigel Stepney requests a meeting with his former boss Jean Todt to clarify his name.

16 July 2007
Mike Coughlan's sworn affidavit details come out: he told several fellow McLaren employees about his possession of reams of secret Ferrari material. "It's true," Coughlan reportedly wrote in his sworn statement.  "I had all the designs. "It was my responsibility.  I showed those designs to McLaren and not just to (managing director) Jonathan Neale but to others as well. "Everyone reacted the same way and told me to get rid of them."
McLaren reacts the same day, the Woking based team angrily deny Coughlan's alleged admission that he told several fellow McLaren employees about his possession of reams of secret Ferrari material.

12 July 2007
Representatives of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes are requested to appear before an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Thursday, July 26, 2007 to answer a charge that between March and July 2007, in breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes had unauthorised possession of documents and confidential information belonging to Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro, including information that could be used to design, engineer, build, check, test, develop and/or run a 2007 Ferrari Formula One car.
McLaren states: "McLaren is extremely disappointed to note that it has been asked by the FIA to answer a charge of being in possession of certain documents and confidential information belonging to Ferrari."

11 July 2007
Mike Coughlan does not appear in London's High Court on Wednesday after reaching an agreement with Ferrari. The suspended McLaren chief designer will provide a sworn affidavit to Maranello based Ferrari in exchange for the information not being available to prosecutors in Italy.

10 July 2007
Coughlan's case hits the London High Court for a public hearing. Coughlan is officially accused of receiving stolen and secret documents (780 separate pages of confidential team data), and his wife Trudy was also named in court by Ferrari's lawyer for allegedly trying to photocopy the reams of Ferrari information at a commercial copying shop.

09 July 2007
An unnamed 'source in the McLaren team' "reports that Coughlan said he did not know who had sent him the material that had been found.  He also said that when he received the material, he had asked one of his superiors - but not Dennis - what he should do with it."

08 July 2007
Nigel Stepney denies allegations that he passed reams of confidential team data to a colleague at McLaren. "I have no idea how Mike Coughlan got the documents and I have no idea what exactly he is supposed to have." He also claims he had to flee Italy with his girlfriend Ash and their one-year-old child.
"There have been high-speed car chases," Stepney revealed.  "Ash has been stalked at the house.  There was tracking gear on my car.  Someone was going to get hurt."

07 July 2007
Max Mosley tells reporters that an FIA investigation into the affair, which is being led by race director Charlie Whiting, is under way. Honda is not part of the investigation.
Max Mosley also dismisses as "wrong" Bernie Ecclestone's claim that the Ferrari-McLaren spy scandal will surely not affect the outcome of the drivers' world championship.

06 July 2007
Honda releases a statement. Honda team principal Nick Fry met with Nigel Stepney and Mike Coughlan in June. At no point during this meeting was any confidential information offered or received. Nick Fry informed Jean Todt and Ron Dennis of the meeting.

06 July 2007
Honda is being dragged into the Ferrari-McLaren espionage affair. In addition to McLaren, Nigel Stepney had also offered classified team data to his colleagues at the Japanese team, but they turned him down.

05 July 2007
Nigel Stepney is interrogated for more than three hours by Italian police upon returning from a holiday in the Philippines. The sacked Ferrari employee's house near Maranello was raided for a second time.

05 July 2007
Details of the 'package' sent to Coughlan in May come out. "Details about internal structures, operating procedures, engineers, car setup data, race strategy secrets, future developments plans, as well as notes relating to quality control and tests."

05 July 2007
Bernie Ecclestone and sources close to Max Mosley have allayed fears that the Ferrari-McLaren spy scandal could affect the outcome of the drivers' world championship. F1 chief executive Ecclestone, however, warned that if McLaren is found guilty by the newly established FIA investigation, constructors' points could be docked.

04 July 2007
F1's governing body launches an investigation into the spy scandal saga involving Nigel Stepney and Mike Coughlan.

04 July 2007
A new statement from McLaren reads that "McLaren has completed a thorough investigation and can confirm that no Ferrari intellectual property has been passed to any other members of the team or incorporated into its cars...McLaren has invited the FIA to conduct a full review of its cars..."

04 July 2007
A spokesman for Ferrari said: "We have proof that Stepney had been supplying technical information to a McLaren employee and we found evidence of that fact in his (Coughlan's) home."

03 July 2007
McLaren releases a statement, saying a senior member recieved technical information from a Ferrari employee at the end of April. Mike Coughlan is suspended.

03 July
Ferrari fires engineering veteran Nigel Stepney, as speculation of sabotage and espionage continues to swell.

02 July 2007
Ferrari makes an application to the High Court in London for the court's assistance.

Early July 2007
Coughlan's home in Surrey (UK) is raided by police, and apparently found incriminating evidence.

24 June 2007
Ferrari's Nigel Stepney breaks his silence and declares that he is the victim of a "dirty tricks campaign" waged by the Italian team.

26 June 2007
It emerges that the internal and police investigation may not be about sabotage, despite reports of a mysterious 'white powder' found in the fuel tank of Felipe Massa's car prior to Monaco as well as a major incident recently in the team's wind tunnel. The suggestion is that Ferrari suspects a new case of espionage, involving the selling of information and blueprints to rival teams.

22 June 2007
Ferrari has commenced legal action against its veteran technician Nigel Stepney, the action relates to alleged "illegal" behaviour and will be handled by an Italian court.

22 June 2007
Police raid Stepney's residence near Ferrari's Maranello base on Friday night 22nd of June, seizing several objects including a small container, which could be related to reports that a mysterious white powder was found in the fuel tank of Felipe Massa's F2007 in the days before the Monaco GP.

9 June 2007
An agreement was signed to "a better relationship" between McLaren and Ferrari.

27 May 2007, Monaco
An incident prior to the Monaco grand prix when white powder was discovered in the fuel tank of Felipe Massa's car and sent to the police.

April 2007
Ron Dennis asks Jean Todt for a meeting to establish a better relationship between the teams.

Early March 2007
McLaren's chief designer obtained in March, prior to the Australian GP, documents from Nigel Stepney. McLaren later states this was in April.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 19 September 2007 23:00

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