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Ferrari to continue legal action

india Updated: Dec 14, 2007 20:40 IST

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Formula One champions Ferrari say they are prepared to close the McLaren spy controversy on a sporting level while continuing legal action against the individuals concerned.

"Ferrari respects the proposal of the FIA President to cancel the extraordinary general meeting of the World Motor Sport Council... thus bringing this incident to a close from a sporting point of view," the team said in a statement.

"However, it is confirmed that criminal actions underway in Italy and civil ones in England are still continuing," Ferrari added.

McLaren apologised to their rivals, the governing International Automobile Federation and fans on Thursday after conceding that Ferrari information fed to the team earlier in the year had gone deeper than suspected.

They also proposed to freeze development on three systems that would have featured in their 2008 car after FIA suspicions that they might be contaminated by Ferrari data.

FIA President Max Mosley in return sought the cancellation of a February 14 meeting to assess McLaren's 2008 car that could have imposed further penalties on the team a month before the start of the season.

The decision should allow Formula One to start the New Year with a clean slate and without the threat of further damage from a controversy that has hung over the sport since July.

McLaren were fined $100 million and stripped of all their constructors' points as a result of the scandal that emerged when chief designer Mike Coughlan was found to have a 780-page dossier of Ferrari information at his home.

Ferrari have taken legal action against Coughlan and his wife Trudy, who had sought to photocopy the documents, in Britain while also starting criminal proceedings against former employee Nigel Stepney in Italy.

Stepney has been accused of attempted sabotage and of passing secrets to McLaren.

Several McLaren employees were also warned in September that they are under investigation.