By Jonathan NobleThursday, November 8th 2007, 13:21 GMT
Former world champions Renault have been summoned to appear before a hearing of the FIA World Motor Sport Council next month to answer charges of spying.
With the sport still reeling from McLaren's exclusion from the Constructors' Championship for their involvement in a spying affair with Ferrari this year, Renault now find themselves dragged into a similar controversy.
Renault were dragged into the matter when McLaren investigations into their own spy controversy revealed that a former staff member had allegedly taken several CDs worth of data to the Renault team.
McLaren's lawyers duly brought the matter to the attention of the FIA on the eve of their own hearing in September, which prompted the investigation by the sport's governing body. This has resulted in the decision of the FIA to summon Renault representatives.
A statement issued by the FIA on Thursday said: "Representatives of the Renault F1 Team have been requested to appear before a hearing of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Monaco on Thursday, December 6, 2007.
"The team representatives have been called to answer a charge that between September 2006 and October 2007, in breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code, the Renault F1 Team had unauthorised possession of documents and confidential information belonging to Vodafone McLaren Mercedes, including, but not limited to the layout and critical dimensions of the McLaren F1 car, together with details of the McLaren fuelling system, gear assembly, oil cooling system, hydraulic control system and a novel suspension component used by the 2006 and 2007 McLaren F1 cars."
Renault boss Flavio Briatore told Gazzetta dello Sport in September that he was confident the team would not be found to have done anything wrong, having cooperated fully with the FIA investigation.
"We told the FIA what we had, so there's no problem," said Briatore. "I don't know what Dennis refers to, he's throwing stones a bit everywhere. We are calm, no problem at all."