Max Mosley, the FIA president, last week reiterated his warning that any Formula One team involved in any sort of spying scandal in the future is likely to be thrown out of the world championship completely.

In an obvious reference to the McLaren team, who were fined $100m and stripped of all their points in the 2007 constructors' championship, Mosley made clear his view that the penalty would not stop there if there was any sort of repeat performance by any competing team in the future.

"You can never stop what someone has got in his head, but we can stop the transfer of information in written or electronic form," said Mosley speaking to the official Formula One website. Last year McLaren were subjected to this draconian penalty after Ferrari engineer Nigel Stepney leaked confidential technical data to the McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan.

Mosley added: "And if you are prepared to check - and we [the FIA] have demonstrated that we are - then somebody using such information would be very unwise because in a modern Formula One team you cannot do it without leaving traces, and we will find those traces."

The FIA president again signalled his belief that McLaren had got off lightly under the circumstances. "Next time, whoever it was, I don't think they would stay in the championship," he said. "In the case of McLaren everybody said 'oh, a hundred million dollars', but the alternative would have been to exclude them - and that would have been more expensive!"