Nigel Stepney is to be linked to the attempted sabotage of Ferrari's cars before the Monaco Grand Prix when he is brought to court, an Italian prosecutor has claimed.

The former Ferrari engineer has been embroiled in a high-profile spying case that supposedly saw him leak 'intellectual property' from his employers to rivals McLaren via Mike Coughlan, but Ferrari is also taking him to court over a 'mysterious white power' found in the cars' fuel tanks before the weekend.

Similar powder was later discovered in Stepney's pockets, but while he insists he has been set-up, Modena prosecutor Giuseppe Tibis claims there is a strong case against the Briton.

"Certainly from sworn testimony the suspicion exists that it was Stepney who handled the powder that has polluted the petrol," he told Reuters.

With an August break having placed a halt on court proceedings, Stepney will be back to plead his case in the coming weeks. It comes in the same month that Ferrari and McLaren go to the FIA's appeal court over the decision not to penalise the latter team for being in possession of secret data.

With both Stepney and Coughlan suspended, both engineers face a ban in the sport, while McLaren, if now found guilty, could have points deducted or receive a suspension themselves.

 

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