The Renault Formula One team has walked out of a courtroom in Monaco having been found guilty of possessing confidential information belonging to another team – but has remained unpunished.
The World Motorsport Council found Renault in breach of the regulations for its actions over computer disks with details of the McLaren car. But it imposed no penalty and said that it will issue its detailed reasoning tomorrow (Dec 7).
Its judgment is similar to the one it initially came to in the McLaren spy row that blew up in July this year.
The team was originally let off the hook in similar circumstances and then called back into court after new evidence came to light.
It was this second hearing that exposed the existence of email correspondence between McLaren’s drivers and disgraced chief designer Mike Coughlan.
The FIA has reportedly reserved the right to call Renault back into court should further evidence come to light in this second case.
Renault team boss Flavio Briatore has said: “I would like to thank Renault, our title sponsor ING and all our partners for their wholehearted support during this sensitive period.
“I also wish to pay tribute to the team, which has handled the matter with integrity and dignity.
“We are pleased that we can now focus fully on our preparations for the 2008 championship.”
McLaren CEO Martin Whitmarsh said: “We made the case to the World Motor Sport Council that we thought it wasn’t appropriate to put the sort of penalty on any team that we suffered.
“We made that very clear, we weren’t pushing for that, but we believe it to be a serious case.”
Whatever happens next, McLaren are still experiencing fallout from the summer row. The team is waiting to see whether the FIA is going to force it to start the 2008 season under a penalty.