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F1 espionage affair heads to British High Court

india Updated: Jul 10, 2007 11:50 IST
AFP
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The British Grand Prix may have ended on Sunday but the Formula One espionage' controversy that overshadowed on-track events at Silverstone has seemingly still got plenty of mileage left in it.

The pit-sdie drama first ignited when Ferrari engineer Nigel Stepney was sacked after being accused of supplying McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan with over 500 pages of secret Ferrari technical information back in April.

Coughlan, their chief designer, was subsequently suspended by McLaren after the Ferrari documents were found in his house.

However, an unnamed source in the McLaren team has said that Coughlan did not know who had sent him the information and Stepney insists he is not responsible for the leak.

"I have no idea how anything came into Mike's possession. If he has some documents, they came from another source," said former Ferrari man Stepney who has left his home in Italy and fled to a secret location amidst fears for his safety.

One potential implication of the leaked data, strongly denied by McLaren, is that the British team benefited from an insight into what made the Ferraris the fastest cars on the grid in the early stages of the Formula One season.

Since April McLaren have out-performed their main rivals, though Ferrari have enjoyed a recent resurgence including a Kimi Raikkonen victory on Sunday.

The whole affair (currently being investigated by the sport's governing body, the FIA) is heading to court in London on Tuesday where Ferrari boss Jean Todt believes the legal process will serve to clear up some of the issues.

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