FIA say think twice about hiring Stepney

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The Independent Online

The FIA have drawn a line under the "Stepneygate" spy scandal which rocked Formula One in 2007 by announcing that they have concluded an investigation into the behaviour of Nigel Stepney, the former head of performance development at Ferrari.

The Englishman remains under police investigation in Italy, accused of giving confidential Ferrari technical data to the McLaren chief designer, Mike Coughlan, while still employed by Ferrari, who subsequently sacked him. That led the FIA to fine McLaren $100m (£50m) and disqualify them from the 2007 constructors' world championship.

The FIA say they are not in a position to ban Stepney from motorsport but have recommended to teams that they consider carefully whether to employ him. An FIA statement said: "The FIA heard allegations that Stepney passed confidential Ferrari information to an employee of McLaren. Stepney has admitted this and apologised to the FIA.

"As Stepney is not an FIA licence-holder, no formal action may be taken against him (though the FIA isco-operating with Italian police). The FIA recommends to its licensees that they do not professionally collaborate with Stepney without conducting appropriate due diligence."