In a circus like F1 yes, Information is Advantage.
Information theft is a crime i think no? especially in fields like technology and engineering? isnt that where most spying takes place? between R&D laboratories? A compan is found with their competitors intellectual property then yes its a crime whether they actually copied the technology or made their similar or not even at all.
Im not as dumb as to think that McLaren would actually and effectively REPLICATE parts from the Ferrari cars !! but it is an advantage to know what's under the hood of your opponents, there is no doubt about it. They may have also found out that such or such systems weren't made well so they discarded them and didnt replicate them or imitate them on their own cars? Then thats STILL USING THE INFO!!!!!!!!!
Don't compare that to the information that pilots pass around when they change teams, they dont walk around with 780 pages of blueprints and technical data in their drivers' brains....not one engineer can actually retain that much info in his mind, and pilots are far from being that technical anyway.
And don't forget about the advantage McLaren got from Stepney giving them strategic race information DURING RACES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! forget the 780 pages of document, just tell me how McLaren is still allowed to go on racing like that if their paddock had a spy next door?????
said it in other threads and will repeat it here, it makes me want to PUKE....i lost all respect for the guys behind the silver arrows...sad sad sad after the years of glory they had with people like Prost, Senna....