Already fined $100m by the FIA for their part in the spy scandal that threatened to derail the 2007 World Championship and which cost the team the Constructors' Championship, McLaren have been further rocked by the implications of their groveling public admission that 'Ferrari information was more widely disseminated within McLaren than was previously communicated'.
In a highly revealing passage in Martin Whitmarsh's letter of apology to the governing body, the McLaren CEO wrote that: 'Apart from the morale-sapping consequences within the team, its ability to continue its task of generating investment has been made virtually impossible. Consequently, the long-term damage to the team's previously outstanding record and commercial capability is significantly greater than that potentially envisaged by the fiscal penalty imposed.'
The team have pledged to effectively redesign their 2008 charger from scratch – itself an expensive and time-consuming undertaking – and also meet the Â£1m bill for the FIA's latest investigation.
While there is no question of the team being unable to meet the costs of fielding two cars for the 2008 season, Whitmarsh's admission that the team is struggling to attract investment has increased the possibility of Pedro de la Rosa being appointed Lewis Hamilton's team-mate next season in a bid to appease McLaren's influential and extremely lucrative Spanish sponsors.