Ferrari has confirmed that Nigel Stepney has been dismissed from his role as head of performance development as the criminal investigation surrounding the Briton continues.

The team announced last month that it was taking legal action against Stepney - who formed part of the dream team' with Michael Schumacher, Ross Brawn and Jean Todt - with speculation that the move was linked to possible sabotage, although the team has not given any details of the actual accusations being made against the Briton.

Speaking to The Sunday Times after the initial accusations were made, Stepney accused the team of launching a 'dirty tricks' campaign against him while his lawyer Luca Brezigher said that the charges were 'unspecified' and that sabotage - reported to involve a mystery white powder in the fuel tank of the Ferrari race cars ahead of the Monaco Grand Prix - 'wasn't an option'.

However, following an internal investigation running alongside the ongoing legal proceedings, Ferrari has now confirmed that Stepney has left his role within the team.

"I can confirm Nigel Stepney is no longer an employee of Ferrari," a spokesperson confirmed to the Press Association.

Stepney had been employed by Ferrari for more than ten years and was a key part of the team that carried Schumacher to five straight titles between 2000 and 2004, having risen from the role of chief mechanic to act as technical manager for both the race and test teams.

However, following Schumacher's retirement and the decision taken by Brawn to take a sabbatical in 2006, the reshuffle that took place within the team didn't sit well with the Briton who had been moved to a factory based role at the start of the year - with suggestions he was keen to seek employment elsewhere.

 

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