Civil courts in Modena have announced that the Ferrari team were on the receiving end of a sabotage plot just prior to the 2007 Monaco Grand Prix. At the time, then-employee Nigel Stepney was seen in an tightly controlled area of the factory loitering around the Ferrari cars that were due to be sent to the Principality for the race. A white powder was then found in the fuel tanks of the cars, which sparked a thorough investigation and eventually, Stepney’s job and McLaren’s reputation took a substantial hit.
Nigel Stepney was fired after it became known that documents containing Ferrari policies and part details had been leaked to Mike Coughlan, a McLaren employee at the time. While the investigation into this led to McLaren receiving a hefty fine and exclusion from the 2007 Constructors championship, the case of the mysterious white powder was never officially explained.
To this day, it still remains a bit of a mystery, but a magistrate has decided that there was a plot to sabotage the Ferrari team and that Stepney was most likely to have been involved. What the white powder is we still don’t know, and what damage it could have caused isn’t known either. However, Stepney’s lawyer is reported to have said the accusations are vague and inexact. It is likely that nothing can be proven in this part of what became known as Stepney-gate, but clearly the case is still ongoing as Ferrari try to work out exactly what happened.