Briatore's boys deemed cheats, but get off without any punishment
7 December 2007

Renault has been found guilty in the latest round of Formula One's 'spygate' row - but it has escaped punishment.The World Motor Sport Council - effectively the court of motorsport's governing body the FIA - met yesterday to discuss the accusation that Renault had benefited from confidential McLaren design data. But while the WMSC decided that Renault had indeed breached Article 151C of the International Sporting Code - which refers to "fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally" - it imposed no penalty.The FIA says it will publish, in full, the reasons behind its decision later today. But the most plausible explanation is that while Renault, like McLaren, was deemed to be in possession of a rival team's technical information, there was insufficient proof that it had discussed or used the details.The decision increases the possibility of Fernando Alonso returning to Renault for the 2008 season, and decreases the possibility of the French manufacturer pulling the plug on its F1 campaign in the face of a heavy fine.

John McIlroy

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