Mike Coughlan, a 48 year old engineer from McLaren, is the staff member suspended by McLaren, according to Autosport. Following news earlier today that Nigel Stepney has been fired after an internal investigation into his behaviour (the police enquiry is continuing), the news was quickly followed by a statement from McLaren saying they had also suspended a key staffer due to an investigation by Ferrari into industrial espionage. A police search of Coughlan’s house has revealed data allegedly owned by Ferrari, and McLaren immediately took action.
Coughlan joined McLaren in mid-2002 after spending a long time at Arrows and also at the Benetton team (now Renault). Employed by McLaren as their chief designer, McLaren are now launching their own investigation into the matter, but it seems that this and the Ferrari saga are linked, and Ferrari may pursue legal action against the Briton.