Mosley and Dennis clear the air
|By Steve Cooper and Biranit Goren
||Saturday, September 15th 2007, 19:39 GMT
FIA president Max Mosley and McLaren team chief Ron Dennis have cleared the air between them after Mosley suggested earlier today that Dennis had not told the FIA the full truth regarding the spying affair.
The disagreement revolved around a telephone conversation the two held on the Sunday of the Hungarian Grand Prix, when - according to Mosley - Dennis notified him that Fernando Alonso has threatened to provide the FIA with information regarding the spying affair.
However, Dennis told Mosley this was an idle threat and no information existed. And, with the FIA later discovering email exchanges between Alonso and McLaren test driver Pedro de la Rosa - evidence that led to McLaren's penalty and US$100 million fine - Mosley cast doubt over Dennis's integrity.
But after meeting with Dennis at the Spa-Francorchamps paddock this afternoon, the two sides issued statements clarifying the matter, with Mosley saying he "entirely accepts" that Dennis believed what he told Mosley at the time.
"After a frank and open discussion with Max Mosley this afternoon, we reached full agreement on the relevant content and context of the discussions that took place on the Sunday of the Hungarian Grand Prix," Dennis said in a statement.
"Our subsequent recollections of these, which I repeated to the World Motor Sport Council on Thursday, will be contained in the full transcript to be made available to the media next week."
Mosley echoed the sentiments in his own statement: "For the avoidance of doubt, Ron Dennis told me on the Sunday of the Hungarian Grand Prix that notwithstanding an exchange with Fernando Alonso there was no information held by anyone within the McLaren team which might cast doubt on the World Motor Sport Council decision of 26th July.
"He confirmed to me this afternoon that he did indeed say this and I entirely accept that he believed it to be true at the time."
Dennis also referred to the possibility of an appeal, stating: "It has been a difficult period in the history of McLaren but we have tried hard to co-operate with the FIA which has been committed to a transparent and thorough process.
"In the interests of Formula One, our partners and our team, I am now considering how to achieve closure in this matter. Once I have formed my own opinion I will make a recommendation to my shareholders who will ultimately decide with me whether to appeal."
Mosley's statement elaborated further on the affair, with the FIA president emphasizing the fact that the McLaren drivers did not have a choice but to collaborate with the governing body, admonishing anyone who criticises Alonso for submitting the evidence as asked.
"Our investigation had nothing to do with questions of personality and everything to do with sporting fairness," Mosley stated.
"The interests of Formula One have not been helped by comments in the press from would-be experts who questioned the motives of the investigation without waiting for the evidence. We will adopt a similar approach to any such matters which are brought to our attention in the future.
"One hundred million dollars is a large sum of money but in such a serious case any fine has to be large enough to deter similar behaviour in the future whilst remaining proportionate to the resources of the team.
"Just over half the money from this fine will go to the competing Formula One teams. Each competing team will move up one place with McLaren now taking 11th position in this year?s Championship.
"The World Motor Sport Council will be invited to distribute the remainder to the FIA?s national sporting authorities world-wide for them to spend on helping young drivers to progress in circuit racing and rallies. This will be the first time the FIA has had such a budget available.
"The FIA is very disappointed that Fernando Alonso and Pedro de la Rosa have been criticised in the press. They had no choice but to make available the information in their possession. It is up to every team to ensure that the rules of sporting fairness are respected.
"No driver should be put in the position in which Fernando and Pedro found themselves."