Ferrari accuse Stepney of criminal behaviour

Sat, 23 June 2007, 12:04

Ferrari has commenced legal action against its veteran technician Nigel Stepney, a spokesman for the Maranello based team confirmed on Friday.

The details have not been divulged, but team principal Jean Todt admitted to La Gazzetta dello Sport that the action relates to alleged “illegal” behaviour and will be handled by an Italian court.

The sports newspaper also hints at sabotage, and an incident prior to the Monaco grand prix when white powder was discovered in the fuel tank of Felipe Massa’s car and sent to the police.

More plausible is speculation that, in negotiating with rival teams including Honda, Stepney was offering to take a group of engineers with him. Also rumoured is that Ferrari parts or designs were illegally sold.

“Nigel Stepney is still an employee but we have brought an action against him,” Ferrari spokesman Luca Colajanni confirmed, although it is understood that Stepney is not currently at work.

It was reported earlier this year that Briton Stepney, who joined the famous marque in 1992, was unhappy to have been left behind in a recent reshuffle of the technical departments following the ‘sabbatical’ of Ross Brawn.

He was subsequently given a factory-based role and has been a conspicuous absentee in the grand prix paddocks in 2007.

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