Ferrari Dismisses Nigel Stepney, McLaren Suspends Employee

Ferrari Dismisses Nigel Stepney, McLaren Suspends Employee

While British engineer Nigel Stepney is holidaying in the Philippines, Ferrari have decided to end his employment with the Formula One team following an internal investigation into his conduct. This news, while expected, coincides with a police investigation after the team alerted authorities when they found irregularities at the factory in Maranello prior to the Monaco Grand Prix last May.

Very little has been said about why an investigation has been launched, only that the team were concerned with his behaviour. It is no secret that Stepney wanted to take a sabbatical when Michael Schumacher stepped down from driving, and Technical Director Ross Brawn took a year out. The rumour mill is in hot pursuit of the story, and the word sabotage has been banded around a far bit in connection with the ongoing saga.

Stepney’s lawyer Sonia Bartolini has stated that when Nigel returns later this week, he will likely make a statement and work with authorities to prove his innocence.

And while the Scuderia are having fun with their senior staff, McLaren have suspended a senior member on their books. In a statement issued by the Woking-based squad, it seems that McLaren learned one of their key staffers received confidential information from a Ferrari employee earlier in the season. The individual – whom McLaren are not naming – is currently being investigated by Ferrari for industrial espionage.

McLaren became aware on 3rd July 2007 that a senior member of its technical organisation was the subject of a Ferrari investigation regarding the receipt of technical information.

The team has learnt that this individual had personally received a package of technical information from a Ferrari employee at the end of April. Whilst McLaren has no involvement in the matter and condemns such actions it will fully co-operate with any investigation. The individual has in the meanwhile been suspended by the company pending a full and proper investigation of the matter.

No further comment will be made. McLaren Press Statement.

So it’s all fun and games at the top end of the grid then!?


  • He’s an English Cheat, cheating for an Englsh team, Maclaren, Maclaren should be banned from racing any further this year, it’s disgusting, the English will stop at nothing to promote themselves.

  • Some strong views there, King. What do you have to say about the relatively recent Toyota/Ferrari industrial espionage saga, or the Honda fuel tank that saw them get banned for a few races, or Ferrari themselves stretching the rules a little thin?

    At the end of the day, in any sport, there will be those who play by the rules, and those that break them. I’m convinced that every team on the grid today, and on previous grids through all of Formula One’s history have ‘cheated’ at some point. Be it intentionally or in error. It’s a fact of sport, I’m afraid.

    By the way, you may want to read todays statement from McLaren which basically says they have not used Ferrari data to improve their cars.

    Following our statement of 3rd July 2007, McLaren has completed a thorough investigation and can confirm that no Ferrari intellectual property has been passed to any other members of the team or incorporated into its cars.

    They have also invited the FIA to thoroughly check out their cars. Seems pretty open and transparent to me.

    Update: And it seems the FIA are intervening with regards to the International Sporting Code and F1 Regulations.

  • Bit harse bringing race/nationality into the fray isn’t it. Although I do find it odd the McLaren performace improvement over the water then losing out to Ferarri (once McLaren became aware of their own impending investigation?)

  • I agree Bic, it was a bit off bringing something into it that I don’t believe has any relevance to the situation. As King hasn’t responded to my previous comment, I assume they were just trying to gain some short term attention.

    I think Ferrari had an advantage over McLaren in France simply because their car is better suited to the circuit. They will probably have a small margin over McLaren at Silverstone and maybe Hockenheim, but I think they’ll lose out in Hungary and Turkey. Swings and roundabouts, hopefully it’ll keep the championship interesting.

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