McLaren steps up 'Renaultgate' attack
(GMM) McLaren has stepped up the new so-called 'Renaultgate' scandal by leaking information to the press about the seriousness of the espionage allegations.
Less than two weeks before Renault faces the World Motor Sport Council, British newspapers have quoted from a briefing that appears to have been provided in a clandestine fashion by Ron Dennis' team.
The Times branded McLaren's efforts a "concerted attack" against the Flavio Briatore-led French squad, with the information revealing that up to 18 employees had viewed the McLaren secrets, which were taken to Renault by suspended engineer Phil Mackereth, on 11 separate computers.
The British press was also informed that Renault possessed 33 files of technical information, amounting to more than 780 drawings and the entire blueprints for McLaren's 2006 and 2007 cars, that were seen by seven officials as senior as chief designer Tim Densham.
McLaren's solicitors, Baker and McKenzie, said in a written submission to the FIA: "It is clear that McLaren's confidential design information was knowingly, deliberately and widely disseminated and discussed within the Renault F1 design and engineering team."
Baker and McKenzie also contends that Renault has responded to the affair so far with a "cavalier attitude", and that its explanations have been "incomplete", "misleading" or "incorrect". Mackereth's assertion that he kept the McLaren information for "sentimental reasons" was slammed as "absurd" by McLaren.
In September, McLaren was fined $100 million and excluded from the constructors' championship after chief designer Mike Coughlan was found in possession of 780-pages of secret Ferrari data.
McLaren, Renault and the FIA would not comment.