Following the World Motor Sport Council hearing in Paris from Thursday 13 September, Ron Dennis, Chairman and CEO of the McLaren Group, and Martin Whitmarsh, COO of the McLaren Group, held a brief press conference.
Martin Whitmarsh:"We believe we have got the grounds for an appeal, but of course we are going to wait for the findings of the FIA, which we believe are going to be published tomorrow, and will consider those carefully before we make that decision.Bearing in mind the precedent that has been set by this, do you feel now that you are the only team in Formula 1 who deserves to be punished for this sort of espionage? Do you feel that there are other teams out there who are doing the same thing and thus should receive the same punishment?
Martin Whitmarsh:"The starting point is we do not believe that we should have been punished in this way. I think today we should just concentrate on this hearing and this situation, not what's happening to other teams."Do you think FIA president Max Mosley's attitude has changed from the last World Motor Sport Council meeting since the first hearing in July?
Ron Dennis:"I have no comment on that."What was the new evidence given to the FIA today and the FIA statement says that your drivers are not punished because they helped the FIA to make the truth?
Ron Dennis: "I can tell you that the evidence today was primarily email traffic between our drivers, and in one instance, Mike Coughlan."
Martin Whitmarsh: "As we've said earlier, these were a few emails, and the drivers have stated categorically that no information was passed to the team."
Ron Dennis: "And of course the team had no knowledge of this email traffic at any stage."How damaging financially is a fine of that size to a company like McLaren?
Ron Dennis: "Firstly, effectively, we will still have as an offset the revenue from the points earned to date. That will probably, effectively half the size of the cheque that we ultimately have to sign, if we ultimately accept this fine. But as you can see if you read our accounts, we turn over roughly $450-500 million a year, and we are debt-free. So obviously we are a very strong company, phenomenal growth."Would something like today make you consider your future?
Ron Dennis: "My personal future was never in question as far as I was concerned. I'm very committed to this company, I'm very passionate about motor racing, and I have absolutely no intention of retiring. Save for I've made a firm commitment to Martin to succeed me as CEO, and that decision, whenever it's taken, will not have any bearing on today's affair or any other issue of this year."How is this going to affect the future of your drivers?
Ron Dennis: "We have contracts with both of our drivers, multi-year contracts, and there has been no discussion about varying them. We have two of the best drivers in the world, and our commitment to winning races is undiminished. That's what we exist to do, is to win races. If there is any variation to those contracts, it will be by mutual agreements."Do you have a feeling after today that the FIA is measuring with two measuring sticks?
Ron Dennis: "I'm not going to make any comment as to the FIA's findings, other than the fact that we are firmly of the opinion that we definitely do not concur with their findings. But until we have all the details from the FIA, it is impossible for me to have a position on it. They've issued the penalties, but they haven't issued the actual findings, and it would be wholly inappropriate for me to make any comment until we have those findings."Source McLaren