Ferrari detail. Ferrari Owners' Club
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Ferrari Happenings
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Toyota and Ferrari in Espionage Investigation
*4.11.03
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This report, written by Roy Kammerer,
was published by Associated Press:

Police have raided the Toyota Formula One racing team's factory in Germany on suspicion of industrial espionage involving Ferrari, with one Toyota engineer reportedly arrested. Police in the western city of Cologne said that they searched the aerodynamic division in the team's factory on Friday, sealing the area, and took one person into custody.

The newspaper Koelner Express said the district attorney's office in Modena, Italy, had been investigating the case at Ferrari's request. Cologne police said that the raid had been carried out on behalf of the Federal Criminal Office, the German equivalent of the FBI.

Rumours of industrial espionage surfaced in media reports in May because of the apparent similarity of Toyota's TF103 car to the F2002 driven by the Ferrari world champion, Michael Schumacher.

The Koelner Express reported that Toyota is suspected of having obtained technical data from Ferrari from an engineer who departed the Italian team two years ago.

"Toyota motor sport is not the target of the investigation. It involves an employee of the aerodynamic division," Toyota's racing team boss, Ove Andersson, told the newspaper.

Cologne police would not say if the arrested man was still in custody or if any charges had been brought. Police secured computers, technical plans and CDs and diskettes at the Toyota factory for evidence.

The Koelner Express said that Toyota could face damage claims of millions of euros if the espionage charges are proved.

Toyota has poured huge sums into its Formula One team and hired some top talent, including Ferrari employees, but the results on the racing circuit have been disappointing so far.

 

 

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