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Renault Avoids Penalty in Spy Case


The International Automobile Federation (FIA) has decided not to punish Renault's Formula One team for spying on rival McLaren, a move that could clear the way for Spanish driver Fernando Alonso to return to the French squad.

After a hearing of the World Motor Sport Council in Monaco, FIA said while Renault had violated the International Sporting Code, no penalty would be imposed.

Renault could have faced a fine similar to the $100 million penalty imposed on McLaren for spying on the Ferrari team. FIA said it would give details on its decision Friday.

Former McLaren engineer Phil Mackereth was accused of taking files from McLaren when he moved to Renault last year. However, the British-based team acknowledged that the amount of information taken was smaller than it previously indicated. Renault suspended Mackereth and has denied any of the information was used in its 2007 car and said every effort was made to erase the data from its computers.

The decision could clear the way for two-time driving champion Alonso to move back to the French team. The Spaniard quit McLaren after finishing third this season behind Ferrari's Kimi Raikkonen of Finland and McLaren teammate Lewis Hamilton of Britain. Alonso won the title with Renault in 2005 and 2006.

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