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F1 secrets left on the web

Uncensored transcript posted online

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Highly-sensitive documents that disclosed secret information about the inner workings of the technical strategies adopted by rival Formula One (F1) teams were exposed for all to see on the internet.

Over the past few months F1 motor racing has been racked by controversy surrounding revelations that the McLaren team had been spying on its rival Ferrari by obtaining confidential technical documents.

Just last week, McLaren was fined $100m (£50m) and stripped of all its constructors' championship points.

The verdict followed several hearings where emails and texts between the men at the centre of the drama were used as evidence in the much-publicised case.

Fédération Internationale de l' Automobile (FIA) diligently published transcripts from those hearings on its website including a 115-page document released on 13 September, the day the McLaren verdict was reached.

But, despite blacking out secret information on the PDF transcript before posting it on the internet, the French-based motor sport council failed to realise that a simple copy and paste of the document into any text-based file revealed the hidden data.

El Reg contacted the FIA to point out the glaring mistake and a spokeswoman told us the PR team was already aware of the privacy cock-up.

She said the document had in fact been taken down from the website immediately after the FIA learned of the issue yesterday. However, we were still able to obtain the document, including its confidential revelations, this morning.

When asked why the FIA had failed to act quickly to prevent rival F1 teams accessing some of the information allegedly exposed to McLaren in the espionage saga, the spokeswoman said the council was unwilling to provide any further comment.

Of course, following our conversation, the document was edited with the secret information removed. ®

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