FIA: McLaren have queried Renault
|By Jonathan Noble
||Tuesday, September 11th 2007, 13:54 GMT
The FIA has confirmed that it has been approached by McLaren with questions about rivals Renault, just days before the World Motor Sport Council hearing into Formula One's spy saga.
There has been mounting speculation since the Italian Grand Prix that part of McLaren's defence arguments in Thursday's hearing will revolve around the fact that if they are punished then rival teams like Renault should be as well.
Sources have also suggested to autosport.com that other teams may also have been mentioned as well as Renault, although this has not been confirmed.
The exact nature of McLaren's query about Renault is not known, but there are rumours it is focused around a technical element on the car rather than any specific involvement in the spy controversy.
The FIA has now confirmed that McLaren's lawyers have indeed been in touch with them to discuss the Renault matter, but the sport's governing body has made it clear that it will have no relevance to the Paris hearing.
An FIA spokesman told autosport.com: "We have noted the speculation and we can confirm that McLaren lawyers have recently brought to our attention certain matters regarding Renault F1.
"But we can also confirm that the team (Renault) does not form any part of our investigations into McLaren's alleged breach of Article 151C of the International Sporting Code.
"The FIA has reminded McLaren that the World Council hearing in Paris on Thursday will focus solely on the new evidence in that investigation.
"To the extent required, any other matters will be dealt with as part of an entirely separate process. Renault F1 are aware of this and are happy to cooperate fully."
Renault boss Flavio Briatore was quoted in the Italian media today as saying that he was confident they would not get dragged into the spy case on the back of the speculation about McLaren's complaints.
"We told the FIA what we had, so there's no problem," he told Gazzetta dello Sport. "I don't know what Dennis refers to, he's throwing stones a bit everywhere. We are calm, no problem at all."
The FIA hearing in Paris will hear new evidence in the McLaren case, believed to revolve around an email exchange between Fernando Alonso and Pedro de la Rosa, with rivals Ferrari also expected to present their own submissions about the matter.
McLaren have been advised on legal grounds not to comment about the case before the hearing.