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'Minor players' Stepney and Coughlan free to return to F1

Nigel Stepney and Mike Coughlan – the two men who came close to bringing Formula 1 to its knees with the well-publicised espionage row of 2007 – have been pronounced free to return to the top flight by FIA President Max Mosley.

Former Ferrari chief mechanic Stepney and McLaren-Mercedes chief designer Coughlan were implicated in the transmission of private, top-secret data from the Scuderia to its Woking-based rival – a saga that became referred to as 'Stepneygate', and one that not only cost both men their jobs, but earned McLaren a sporting record $100 million USD fine and exclusion from the 2007 constructors' world championship.

In the wake of the spying row that rocked the sport two summers ago and the subsequent investigation by the sport's governing body, Stepney and Coughlan were not formally punished, but Ferrari did initiate legal proceedings against the former in Italy and the FIA advised teams 'that they [should] not professionally collaborate with Mr. Stepney without conducting appropriate due diligence regarding his suitability for involvement in international motorsport'.

Stepney subsequently went on to accept a role as Director of Race Technologies at new sportscar outfit Gigawave, but now it has been revealed that on the request of one of their lawyers, an effective 'pardon' has been issued, restrictions have been lifted and the pair are free to once again seek job opportunities in the highest echelon.

“The other day we got a letter from the lawyers of one of them saying he has got this restriction and this restriction, and it does seem a little bit mad to make them serve out even longer when the two teams concerned are making love to each other,” Mosley told British newspaper the Daily Telegraph. “So, we have said we will let them forget it.

“In the end they were just very minor players. If the full story came out, they are two minor players and there are people who are not minor players – but the full story will probably never come out.”


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Calvin _

February 11, 2009 4:10 PM
Last Edited 2858 days ago

So, looks like the FIA/Ferrari got what they wanted. Ferrari won the titles when they were in danger of losing them, McLaren had a pay a huge fine and lost all their constructor points, MM got a personal apology from RD, and the people who were behind the whole thing got let off. Well played FIA/Ferrari :rolleyes:

Schuey - Unregistered

February 12, 2009 10:36 AM

If McClaren were set up, why did they not prove it, and why did they pay the fine and apologise. People are always down on Ferrari because of their success since 2000. The same as when Micahel Schumacher was winning his 5 consecutive World Championships. I agree that these two should not be able to return to the sport they nearly ruined in 2007. 2008 was a great season and lets hope 2009 will prove to be also.



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