Ferrari agree to make peace with McLaren over spy scandal

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The Independent Online

Ferrari agreed yesterday to end legal action against McLaren over last year's spy scandal for the good of Formula One.

McLaren were fined $100m (£50m) by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and stripped of all their constructors' points last season after being found guilty of possessing Ferrari secrets.

Ferrari also started legal action against their rivals and former employee Nigel Stepney, who was accused of attempted sabotage and of passing the information to McLaren. The world champions will now only pursue action against Stepney.

"Ferrari acknowledges McLaren's reiterated apology for the well-known events which occurred during the 2007 F1 championship," a Ferrari statement said. "In the best interests of Formula One and taking into account the formal closure in December 2007 of the FIA and FIA World Motor Sport Council proceedings against McLaren, it confirms that it has accepted to put an end to all outstanding controversies between the two teams. Ferrari will donate to charity the concluding payment received from McLaren. Ferrari will pursue its claims against Nigel Stepney in connection with the matter."

McLaren said in a separate statement that they had agreed to "the reimbursement of Ferrari's costs and expenses relating to these matters and a concluding payment".

The controversy emerged when former McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan was found to have a 780-page dossier of Ferrari information at his home. Both Coughlan and Stepney were sacked by their teams and while the FIA imposed sporting sanctions, legal action was set in motion.

A magistrate in Ferrari's home Italian province of Modena has been conducting a long investigation into the affair and McLaren executives were questioned in February and materials taken away for examination.

Ferrari's statement now means the magistrate Giuseppe Tibis will only concentrate on Stepney, who has already been interviewed.