Bell Pottinger may advise McLaren post scandal

Formula 1 team McLaren is considering using Bell Pottinger on an ongoing basis after bringing in the firm to advise on a recent scandal.

McLaren: in possession of Ferrari data
McLaren: in possession of Ferrari data

The British-based motor racing outfit was fined £48m by F1’s governing body, the International Automobile Federation (IAF), after it emerged one of its engineers was found with data belonging to rival team Ferrari.

‘We are open-minded about our future [work with BP],’ said a McLaren spokesman. ‘We worked with Bell Pottinger prior to and during the case.’

BP wheeled out big-hitters for the brief, including agency founder Lord Bell, Bell Pottinger Group chief executive Kevin Murray, crisis and comms expert Alex Woolfall, and Good Relations head of media Malcolm Munro.

Quest, the intelligence firm hired by Ferrari to investigate the case, used its ret­ained agency, the PR Office, to defend its role in the story.

McLaren decided not to contest the IAF’s decision, bringing an end to the chapter. McLaren was docked its constructor’s championship points for the season.

The decision, made in Paris, was part of a saga that began in July when McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan was found in possession of a 780-page dossier containing Ferrari’s technical data.

It allegedly contained the data on the Italian team’s 2007 car. BP is believed to have been brought in at an early stage, although its support was ramped up when new information was leaked and the case reached a head this month.

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