McLaren lost in translation?

Police chief claims team "misinterpreted" statement

Italian police believe a simple misunderstanding led to McLaren's severe criticism of the statement they released last week following searches of the team's factory and the homes of five senior officials.

The team hit out after an excerpt of an Italian police statement was published by that country's media.

In it, they claimed that, from the material recovered, there "clearly emerges the responsibilities of the management and some technicians at a high level in McLaren" for last year's spy scandal involving Ferrari.

McLaren subsequently slammed the wording of the statement, describing it as "grossly inaccurate and misleading".


However, division chief Sergio Mariotti has played down the criticism and insisted that the team had in fact mistunderstood the wording of the original statement.

"I think they (McLaren) misinterpreted what was written in Italian," Mariotti told Autosport.

"We said that the findings of the activity carried out in England at that time against McLaren and some of their managers, once analysed, would be added to vast circumstantial and factual evidence already consolidated by activities carried out in Italy and abroad in the past.

"By contrast, they understood that what was being acquired at that time in England was itself proof of McLaren's responsibility in the espionage case.

"I'm sorry they understood or translated wrongly, but we think we wrote fairly well how things stand."


Mariotti believes it may take a while before they finish examining the new material.

"The activity is yet to start, so we'll talk about the beginning of the analysis in the following days," he added.

"So some time will go by before getting some results, because there is rather a lot of digital material."

The searches came as part of an ongoing investigation lauched in Italy last year, after Ferrari accused former employee Nigel Stepney of passing a dossier of confidential information to suspended McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan.

Following the FIA's own investigation, McLaren were fined $100 million and stripped of their 2007 constructors' championship points.