Mclaren Awaits Verdict on Spying Accusation

By: Anthony Fontanelle

Going into the current Formula One season, McLaren was only considered as the number three constructor as Ferrari and Renault have been locked in battle for the 2005 and 2006 seasons. But after ten races this season, the team is ahead of Ferrari and every other Formula One teams in the standings. Aside from that the team's drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Fernando Alonso are leading in the drivers' championship standings. But the picture perfect performance of the team may soon be abruptly stopped.

Today, the team is meeting with the World Motor Sport Council which will be making a decision concerning the spying scandal that McLaren fond themselves embroiled in. The scandal involved a Ferrari and a McLaren employee.

Nigel Stepney, formerly of Ferrari, is allegedly passing on technical secrets to Mike Coughlan, McLaren's chief designer. Ferrari documents were found in the possession of Coughlan and being a member of the McLaren team, the team was summoned by the FIA to the council. With the meeting held today, the British team is waiting for the verdict which can break their season.

McLaren's last championship came in 1998 when Mika Hakkinen was still active in the sport. This year though, the team is looking to be on track to win the championship. The British Formula One team currently has 138 points after ten races so far. Meanwhile Ferrari is in second place with 111 points to their credit.

The lead that McLaren has over Ferrari and the rest of the field though may evaporate depending on the verdict of the council. The team, if found guilty of having known of Coughlan's actions before it was made public can be fined, points reduction or even expulsion of the team and its drivers from the championship race.

If the council indeed docks points from McLaren, and Hamilton and Alonso, it would put a stop to the championship bid of the rookie Hamilton. The rookie is currently leading the drivers' championship standings by two points ahead of Alonso. Both the drivers are using the MP4-22 with engine sourced from Mercedes-Benz. The German automaker also supplies other racing parts to McLaren which are as reliable as .

The hope of the team now lies in the testimony of Mike Coughlan. Earlier this month, McLaren pointed out that no one except Coughlan is aware of the Ferrari secret technical files. If Coughlan testified that someone aside from him in the team was aware of the secret dossier, McLaren's name will forever be tainted.

Lewis Hamilton though is confident that his team does not resort to such actions. He said that he has known Ron Dennis, the team principal of McLaren, for years and he believe that Dennis will not condone such acts.

Ferrari, on the other hand, is only concerned with who is responsible for the leak of the documents. Stepney was already sacked by the Italian Formula One team. Interestingly, Honda Racing's team principal Nick Fry admitted that he has met Coughlan and Stepney in the past. With this meeting, it is speculated that Coughlan is planning to join Honda which means that his standing with McLaren is not very good.

The World Motor Sport Council though will have the last say regarding this issue. Many Formula One fans are now waiting for the decision of the council.

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