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4 Jul 2007

Ferrari name Stepney and McLaren engineer in theft allegations

After weeks of media speculation, Ferrari have confirmed that they have presented a legal case against engineer Nigel Stepney, concerning the alleged theft of technical information from the team.

However, in an unexpected twist, the Italian squad also revealed that a member of the rival McLaren team is also involved in the investigation, a revelation that McLaren have subsequently confirmed.

"Ferrari announces it has recently presented a case against Nigel Stepney and an engineer from the Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes team with the Modena Tribunal, concerning the theft of technical information,” read a statement from Ferrari.

"Furthermore, legal action has been instigated in England and a search warrant has been issued concerning the engineer. This produced a positive outcome. Ferrari reserves the right to consider all implications, be they criminal, civil or of any other nature, according to the applicable laws."

Confirming the involvement of their engineer, who has yet to be officially named, McLaren commented: “McLaren became aware on the 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.”

The exact details of the case have not been revealed, but Stepney, who is no longer an employee of Ferrari, has maintained he is innocent of any wrongdoing.

The British engineer joined the team in the early 1990s and would go on to play an increasingly important role in Michael Schumacher’s championship success, despite being famously knocked over by the German during a botched pit stop at the 2000 Spanish Grand Prix.

Nigel Stepney (GBR) Ferrari Chief Mechanic.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 18, Brazilian Grand Prix, Practice Day, Interlagos, Brazil, 20 October 2006