Honda Racing team boss Nick Fry has again claimed that there was no hint of impropriety when he met with 'disgraced' pair Nigel Stepney and Mike Coughlan before the spy row saga became public knowledge.

Speaking at Friday's press conference at the Nurburgring, Fry repeated the facts surrounding his meetings with both men - it now appears that he met them on more than one occasion - but insists that there was nothing to suggest that technical information from Ferrari was on offer to his team.

"As everybody knows, we've interviewed rather a large number of senior engineers over the last two or three months, if not a bit more, and hired a few that people know about now," he confirmed, "Nigel Stepney was one of those people who applied to us, so the first correspondence was from Nigel to us, and he asked to be considered for a position.

"[When] I saw Nigel, it was the first time I'd ever met Nigel in my life, so it was a perfectly normal get-to-know-you-type of discussion, nothing confidential was offered, nothing was received - but he did mention at that time that there was another person who might also be interested, and told me it was Mike.

"I subsequently saw both Mike and Nigel together, and the second conversation was principally with Mike, as I'd already had a discussion with Nigel. Again, Mike was not someone I knew, so we also had a get-to-know-you-type of discussion, not in great detail, [but] more about what he'd done in the past, about what the issues with our team were. And that was the end of it.

"Again, in the second conversation, there was nothing at all that made me vaguely suspicious at all. Neither of them said anything inappropriate, they were both loyal to their teams - obviously not overly happy with various circumstances, but there wasn't any finger-pointing or anything - and that was the end of it. There's been no contact with either of them since that discussion."

Fry confirmed that he has been in touch with both Ferrari boss Jean Todt and McLaren principal Ron Dennis to provide details of the meetings with Stepney and Coughlan, and that he was still willing to clarify that situation surrounding those encounters.

"I wouldn't be doing my job if, when you have offers of the chief designer of one of the top Formula One teams and the person who has been involved in probably the top Formula One team over the last decade, saying they want to work for you," he insisted, "I think I would be somewhat remiss not to at least see them. But I emphasise that neither of those two gentlemen said anything, or offered anything, and nothing was received or asked for on our part. It was very straightforward.

"I was asked by Jean to write a chronology of those discussions, which I did, [and] I sent the Monday before last to both Jean and Ron and also to the FIA, saying that, if they required any further information, then obviously we would be happy to provide it. Since then, I've heard nothing at all, so I can only assume that the matter is now between Ferrari and McLaren."

 

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