Yes, the shocking truth was discovered this week: a top technical engineer at Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro was caught sharing his employer's top secret technical information with the Chief Designer at rival team Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.
Apparently, Ferrari guy (Nigel Stepney) was disgruntled with his overlords after they denied him a very serious promotion last year (filling in for Technical Director Ross Brawn, currently on sabbatical). Stepney was largely responsible for the team's past success so I understand why he's pissed, but it's really not cool to send company secrets to the guy who builds the other guy's car.
And you wanna know how Ferrari discovered this leak? They were investigating him for:
Get this -- "the discovery of a mysterious white powder in the fuel tanks of both Ferrari cars just before the Monaco GP prompted an internal enquiry that resulted in Stepney's sacking." Maybe that's just the boys snorting a few lines off the fenders before the race, but it's true that the previously undefeated Ferrari started to tank at Monaco and kept falling behind in the points due to engine problems.
F1 is not just about driving skill. It's largely based on technology, research and team strategy. If evidence shows that McLaren (currently # 1 in the standings) benefitted from intellectual property stolen from Ferrari (#2 by a wide margin), it's entirely possible that the outcome of the 2007 season could be determined in a court of law instead of on a racetrack. I personally doubt this will happen -- that would be very bad for the sport -- but sometimes things get a little crazy when the lawyers show up.
McLaren is very wisely sticking to the Sgt. Shultz Defense: "We know NUSSING! Nussing at all!"
They also claim that although they had access to Ferrari's secrets since late April, they "did not use it on the McLaren cars and did not share it with any engineering teams". Yes, and I have several naughty magazines under my bed that "I don't look at".
An investigation is unfolding now and you can read about the scandal on planet-F1.com if you're interested (it's ok, I know you aren't) but consider this, sports fans: what if the winner of the Super Bowl or the Masters were determined by a court of law? Could that happen?
Even astronauts don't look this fucking cool.