You only heard half of the story. All of that spying last year was actually a 2-way information exchange.
Ferrari actually consented to provide data about their car, because Ron had - for the first time ever -
allowed Jean Todt access to him top-secret Finnish Driving Machine programme.
It is said that, deep beneath the bowels of the Paragon Centre, there lies a small box containing the still-beating heart of "Mika", or FDM1 to use the official name.
Like a scene from Terminator, this was used to reconstruct a new and better model, the FDM2, codenamed Kimi.
The FDM2 contained a programming glitch, however. As fast as the "Kimi" was, the eye sensors were overly
sensitive to the light reflected from the silver bodywork of the Mclaren car, and caused a series of
increasingly bizarre failures to finish a race. This put Ron in a difficult position - he realised that the "Kimi" was devastatingly fast, but could only be reliable in a dark-coloured car.
I have intercepted this email trace, proving that there was a 2-way information exchange :
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From : Dennis, Ron (email@example.com
To : Stepney, Nigel (firstname.lastname@example.org
Date : 23rd March 2007
Re : FDM2
We found a number of problems caused by the eye sensors being over-exposed to polarised light. You might
want to look at ways to reduce reflections from the nose of the car, which can cause the FDM2 to stay
out too long on flatspotted tyres, or sometimes change down to first gear too soon.
Your marlboro barcode thingy is certainly going to cause a problem, and to be on the safe side you might
want to switch to a darker shade of red too.
Thanks for the gear ratios, by the way - we'll plug them into our sim and see how we get on. I've passed
the info over to our "Non-Caucasian Driving Machine" engineers.
- - - - -
Matters were compounded, of course, with a defection to Renault of one of the founding engineers of the
FDM programme. The blueprint for the FDM3 was already underway, but was stolen and taken to the french
team just a day after Ron had agreen to trade the "Kimi" for Ferrari's car blueprint.
The FDM3 (codename : Heikki) was therefore built and programmed at the Renault factory. The Renault
engineers thought that they had rectified the visual glitch, but there was no easy way to bench-test the light response in the eye sensors, so Renault had to undertake field-testing by including as many colours as possible on the body of the car, using it as a test-card to calibrate visual response.
In taking on the FDM3 to drive the Mclaren, core-level reprogramming was required.
As Autosport report today says :
"Heikki is a guy who was systematically taken apart last year and we have systematically put him
back together again," the McLaren boss told Britain's Daily Telegraph newspaper on Tuesday.