Stepney denies blame for spying penalties

Mon, 21 January 2008, 12:52

Nigel Stepney, the sacked Ferrari engineer who is widely credited for triggering the espionage scandals last year, has denied responsibility for the penalties suffered by McLaren.

Despite admitting that he was the source of the 780-page secret dossier found in Mike Coughlan’s possession, Stepney said it was the suspended McLaren chief designer who used the information improperly.

“I don’t feel responsible in any way at all for what happened at McLaren,” Stepney, who was previously best known for being Michael Schumacher’s former chief engineer, told Sky Sports.

“My ideas were to make contact with somebody but not to benefit. It was to talk about and see what I could do somewhere else,” he added, probably referring to his and Coughlan’s meetings with Honda bosses.

Stepney continued: “It got a bit sensitive and somebody used information more than I actually thought. It should never have been used in that, to that extreme.”

He also suggested that the whole story has yet to be told. His autobiography, entitled ‘Red Mist’, is due for publication in July.

“There is a lot being said, but I think there is a lot underneath that hasn’t been said that should have been,” Stepney said.

“It’s been dramatised for various other reasons, which we will have to go into at a later date.

“Some stuff has been done politically. Some stuff should have been brought out probably in a different way.”

Stepney, a Briton, is still being pursued legally by Ferrari in Italy, and it is expected that he will be banned by the FIA from holding a position in the elite of motor sports.

He said of his future: “I think I’ve got a lot of other more interesting opportunities (such as) going back into the grass roots of motor racing.

“I think, at the end of this year or at the end of 2007, I was looking to get out of Ferrari anyway; whether it was going to be in formula one I wasn’t quite sure. I think formula one was going away from a direction I really wanted to go.”

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