McLaren linked to Ferrari espionage scandal

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Two further twists in the Nigel Stepney espionage case came today – the most dramatic of which links McLaren employee Mike Coughlan to the scandal.

Stepney was officially suspended by the Italian team and it has emerged that McLaren has suspended Coughlan in connection with potentially receiving documents from a Ferrari employee in late April.

Either the two are linked – or it’s an extraordinary coincidence, and Ferrari has two possible leaks to investigate.

Attempting to link the timing of the supposed leak from Ferrari to McLaren is a matter of pure speculation. In late April Ferrari had the upper hand but four weeks later McLaren began a string of three consecutive one-twos.

There is no reason to believe any underhand behaviour was involved in McLaren’s change in fortunes.

But this new development and the situation with Stepney hint at a far greater and more grave conspiracy than was first understood.

Nigel Stepney has been with Ferrari since 1993. He had previously worked for Shadow, Lotus and Benetton. Nigel Stepney biography

Mike Coughlan has previously worked for Lotus, Benetton, Tyrrell, Ferrari and Arrows. Mike Coughlan biography.

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Tags: f1 / formula one / formula 1 / grand prix / motor sport

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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14 comments on “McLaren linked to Ferrari espionage scandal”

  1. Scary,very scary.Could be possible.If this got a technical package,obviously he wouldn’t fancy using it for personal purposes.SO maybe it was installed onto the car.If you look at the timeline(i.e. when Mclaren recieved this package and the improvement in pace),it seems a bit mismatched.Mclaren are probably in trouble here.

  2. There are official releases on both Ferrari and McLaren sites (without mentioning the name in case of Coughlan.
    Ferrari seems to be trying not to implicate McLaren at the moment, only their staff. McLaren plays innocent, claiming they had no knowledge.
    But I wonder – Would any Ferrari staff take out any documents just for the thrill of it? Don’t think so, there must be some big bucks involved. What would Coughlan need those documents for? If any documents from other team should be of any use, he needs to use them now, few months later they may be obsolete. What was his post until he got suspended ? Chief designer in McLaren … This is a bizzare development…

  3. McLaren are denying that any of Ferrari’s intellectual property was used on or influenced their cars. (External story)

  4. Joe Grossman
    4th July 2007, 18:37

    What a complete shame, it is so obvious what has happened here, Ron Dennis is a devious bugger, always has been. The evidence is mounting against McLaren, no doubt Ron Dennis will try to blame his lackeys for this disaster. The British media are far too quiet for my liking, if it had been Ferrari who was found guilty of this the British media would be foaming at the mouth.
    I hope the British media will not try to sweep this under the carpet. The FIA should examine the McLaren car to see if any Ferrari designed technolagy is being used on the car. It is also very suspicious that Ferrari having won the first race of the season in stunning form suddenly started losing and now the very race after the scandal broke they are in stunning form again. All this done to Ferrari after that Bernie Ecclestone almost destroyed Formula one to ensure that Ferrari and Schumacher would not win again.

  5. I think it’s far too early to jump to conclusions like that. There is very little evidence of anything at present, at least in the public domain. Who knows how this story might look in a week’s time – I certainly didn’t anticipate the twists it has taken thus far.

  6. george Fence
    4th July 2007, 22:26

    Now this is F1 drama at it’s best, even better than when Hondas little special gas tank in a gas tank was discovered, give us more.

  7. With lying, cheating, and stealing the current model for advancement, industrial espionage sadly seems highly plausible. Having F1 cars, the highest form of racing cars, on racetracks that allow for high speed, passing, and actual racing in the near future seems, due to regulating organizations and personalities involved, highly implausible. Too bad, all those race cars jamming around tracks hobbled by chicanes, greed, and stupidity.

  8. Intellectual property “borrowing” has long been part of F1 (paying journalists for exclusive photos, tyre-watchers working in teams and sound equipment round circuits to measure sound frequencies are just the tip of the iceberg). If the allegations are true, this will simply be a case of someone stepping over the accepted line. Though given that an ex-Ferrari staffer called Santini not only took designs to Toyota, but saw them incorporated into the car (with minimal performance boost), even this is not exactly mould-breaking. The only surprises are the personalities who are (or rumoured to be) involved in the enquiry.

  9. Highly damaging to his career, I’m sure.

  10. If found guilty McLaren MUST be docked points even disqualified for the rest of the season as the only acceptable punishment! If someone out there is hell-bent on bringing the F1 crown back to UK then he should be made to understand that this isn’t the way for it!

  11. How easy it seems to be to sabotage a team because by one disgruntled member? It has to be proven no other mclaren staff had contact with the document, if so, it’s not fair to penalise the whole team by deducting points. IF the documents had not been taken by a FERRARI member of staff in the first place this situation would not have happenend,

  12. agreed TocaPro, what’s to stop BMW from ruining Renault’s season by bribing a single staff member from Enstone? one man does not make a team.

  13. You could open this up to a miriad of team problems, and fair comment spc, at presemt, i’m just interested in this one

  14. Looking for work, anything to pay my bills, honest and hardworking, referances available from my last employer,,,maybe not

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