FIA - No action against Stepney
The FIA will not punish Nigel Stepney for his part in last year's spy scandal - though it has warned teams against employing him.
Last Updated: 08/03/08 3:54pm
Formula One's governing body, the FIA, has said it will take no action against former Ferrari engineer Nigel Stepney for his part in last year's spy scandal involving McLaren-Mercedes, although it has warned teams against employing him.
Ferrari sacked Stepney after accusing him of both passing confidential information to suspended McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan and attempted sabotage ahead of last May's Monaco Grand Prix.
McLaren were eventually thrown out of the 2007 constructors' championship and fined $100 million for their part in the affair, the FIA having found them guilty of "fraudulent conduct".
The FIA said that, although he disputed the seriousness and extent of his involvement, Stepney admitted being involved and had apologised.
However, they added that they were in no position to punish him.
"As Mr. Stepney is not a licence-holder of the FIA, no formal action may be taken against him under the International Sporting Code (though the FIA is co-operating with the Italian police, who are investigating Mr. Stepney's actions)," an FIA statement read.
"As a matter of good order, the FIA recommends to its licensees that they do not professionally collaborate with Mr. Stepney without conducting appropriate due diligence regarding his suitability for involvement in international motor sport.
"This recommendation stands until 1 July 2009."
Nevertheless, while admitting that Coughlan had obtained very limited information as a result of his carelessness, Stepney said it had taken the FIA six months to approach him for his version of events.
"They may want to do some due diligence themselves before simply accepting one side of the story," he said.
"Frankly, I should have known better. But it sure as hell wasn't the 780-page dossier the FIA saw and which I've just been shown for the first time by the Italian authorities."
Italian police and a prosecutor in Modena, Ferrari's home province, are currently conducting an investigation into the affair.
Stepney has been interviewed by prosecutor Giuseppe Tibis and police also questioned senior McLaren staff and removed possible evidence from their homes last month.