Ferrari insist they are confident their 'sabotage' case against head of performance development Nigel Stepney will be resolved in the Scuderia's favour, following the recent storm that has brewed up surrounding a mysterious 'white powder' found in the fuel tank of Felipe Massa's car prior to last month's Monaco Grand Prix.

German publication Auto Motor und Sport quotes spokesman Luca Colajanni as claiming the Maranello-based squad has "compelling proof" the 47-year-old acted illegally. While police raided Stepney's house in Italy just before last weekend, leaving in possession of a small container, further noises have been made about espionage and selling information and blueprints to rival teams. There is also talk of a defect in Ferrari's wind tunnel

The Briton has allegedly recently criticised Jean Todt's personal politics, and has made no secret of the fact he is unhappy in his current position at Ferrari since Ross Brawn's departure at the end of last year. When he made that dissatisfaction public he was re-assigned to his current factory-based role. He has since held talks with Honda about a potential move to the Brackley-based outfit.

"The fact a police investigation has begun shows have compelling proof in hand that this suspicion is substantiated", Colajanni was quoted as saying.

An internal disciplinary action against Stepney has similarly begun.

"If we have taken this case to the courts it signifies we have glimpsed something illegal," Ferrari CEO Jean Todt is quoted as telling Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport. "He (Stepney) is still in our employment. Sabotage? I can't comment on that."

Stepney and his lawyers have denied all charges brought against him, dismissing the accusations as "a dirty tricks campaign" (see separate story - click here).

 

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