At the specially-convened meeting of F1's World Council later this month, the FIA will ask McLaren how long suspended designer Mike Coughlan had in his possession confidential Ferrari information - and how many colleagues he told.

As the media speculates as to how the powerful governing body will react to the tale of espionage, it has emerged that FIA sources believe Coughlan may have had the 780-pages of sensitive material since the beginning of the season.

Ferrari's Italian lawyers, meanwhile, also believe that McLaren managing director Jonathan Neale, who reports to Martin Whitmarsh and Ron Dennis, knew about Coughlan's possession of the dossier, as well as possibly some others.

It would, for example, answer the question as to why McLaren sought clarification on the rules for moveable floors earlier this year - a perfectly legitimate enquiry that genuinely impacted title rival Ferrari's pace when it had to alter the underbody design of the F2007 racer.

That question is among about 30 others that the FIA has compiled ahead of the meeting in Paris on July 26. Interestingly, it is believed that the governing body completed its list of questions, probing McLaren's affairs for the period March-July, only after reportedly viewing Coughlan's sworn affidavit outlining his knowledge of the affair.

An FIA spokesman reinforced the seriousness of the looming summit, which could result in hefty penalties for McLaren, including total exclusion from the world championship.

He said: "We don't call an emergency meeting of the World Motor Sport Council lightly." (GMM)