Paris, Friday: The FIA have confirmed that they are investigating the McLaren Formula One team after allegations emerged concerning the originality of their latest viral video advertisement, featuring McLaren world champions Lewis Hamilton and Mika Hakkinen.

Responsible: Hamilton and Hakkinens campaign also helps raise funds for the mentally retarded
Responsible: Hamilton and Hakkinen's campaign also helps raise funds for the mentally retarded

In the short video, Hamilton and Hakkinen are interviewed separately about a “responsible drinking pact” they are adhering to, in which they attempt to gain as many signatures as possible from people committing themselves not to drink and drive. In the film both drivers are at pains to explain that the pact was originally their idea, and not that of their colleague.

However, the FIA today revealed that it had received a complaint from another Formula One team, believed to be Ferrari, claiming that the concept of a responsible drinking “pact” was in fact first formed at Maranello, and that the idea has been stolen by their Woking-based rivals.

Newly-signed Ferrari driver Giancarlo Fisichella already lends his name to a brand of non-alcoholic lager in his native Italy, and it is believed that Ferrari were making preparations to extend this campaign to the whole team when documents detailing the proposals mysteriously “disappeared” from Ferrari’s head office.

Reports that they have now been spotted in the possession of a man wearing a silver jacket and acting suspiciously in a photocopying centre in the south of England have been rife over the past twenty-four hours.

“We can confirm that we are investigating irregularities in the marketing strategies of at least one Formula One team,” an FIA spokesman declared. “These allegations are potentially very serious and, if proven, will be dealt with most severely by the World Motor Sport Council.”

As the story gains ground in the motorsport press, most journalists have been working for hours on the task of finding a suitable name for the scandal, preferably ending in the suffix “-gate.”