Ferrari ask McLaren's top brass to attend spy case inquiry

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The Independent Online

The McLaren team principal, Ron Dennis, and the chief operating officer, Martin Whitmarsh, have been "invited" by Italian magistrates to answer questions over last year's "Stepneygate" spying affair.

Though both the FIA, the sport's governing body, and McLaren have drawn a line under the matter following McLaren's disqualification from the 2007 World Championship for constructors, a $100m (£52m) fine and a public apology about their illegal possession of Ferrari intellectual property, Ferrari are keen to continue legal action.

Modena magistrate Giuseppe Tibis, who has charge of the case, has been questioning all of the individuals involved. These included, last year, Spanish McLaren drivers Fernando Alonso and Pedro de la Rosa. Tibis has now informed McLaren's Italian lawyers that he would like to speak to Dennis, Whitmarsh, chief designer Mike Coughlan and engineering director Paddy Lowe. They have all been invited to a meeting in Modena on 18 February.

Nigel Stepney, Ferrari's former head of performance development who supplied information about his former team to his longtime friend Coughlan, has also been asked to appear. McLaren offered no comment, but are known to be surprised, given that the matter has already been settled by the FIA.