Magistrate prolongs Stepney sabotage case

Wed, 5 September 2007, 10:32

An Italian magistrate has decided to prolong investigations of alleged sabotage waged against Ferrari by sacked former chief mechanic Nigel Stepney.

Parallel to the widely reported espionage saga, Stepney is also accused of trying to ruin the Maranello based marque’s Monaco grand prix this year by adding white powder to the cars’ fuel tanks.

“We have reasonable proof that Stepney was involved in this,” magistrate Giuseppe Tibis said, according to the British newspaper The Guardian.

Tibis indicated that that Italian investigators have identified a link between the powder found in or near the Monte Carlo-spec fuel tanks and a pair of trousers belonging to Stepney, who was a key figure at Ferrari until last year and throughout the ultra successful Michael Schumacher era.

An initial hearing about the sabotage allegations will take place in mid-September, prior to a possible trial, the Guardian added.

“I will also ask the judge to assess the effect of the powder on the car engine and the car if it had driven,” Tibis said.

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