There is â€˜reasonable proof over Stepney and the sabotage accusations according to an Italian magistrate.
The magistrate has stated that there is enough proof to run a parallel investigation over Ferrari s claims of sabotage with the espionage case which is currently overshadowing Formula 1. Nigel Stepney has been accused by Ferrari of handing over a 780 page dossier containing top secret Ferrari technical data to Mike Coughlan, chief designer at their main rivals, McLaren. Coughlan has since been suspended from McLaren and Stepney was fired from Ferrari.
Ferrari have also claimed that Stepney tried to sabotage the cars themselves. Traces of white powder were found in the fuel tanks of both cars just before the Monaco Grand Prix earlier this year.
The magistrate in charge of the sabotage investigation, Giuseppe Tibis, has said that they have seen reasonable proof that Stepney was involved in the sabotage of the Ferrari cars. Tibis explained that initial studies had been done on the fuel tank and a pair of Stepney s trousers which had white powder on them. As yet, there is no official word on what the powder is, however some Italian media outlets have claimed the white powder is a form of detergent.
The analysis of the powder found in both the fuel and on the trousers will form part of an initial hearing and will be brought before a judge in mid-September. If deemed solid enough, a full trial will then go ahead.
Sonia Bartolini has been representing Nigel Stepney throughout both the espionage and sabotage accusations and has said she will be sending two expert witnesses to attend the hearing to prove her client s innocence. According to Bartolini, Stepney believes he is the victim of some sort of plot. Stepney has previously claimed he is scared for his life after several strange incidents, including a high speed car chase. Stepney noted the number-plate of the car after the incident and it is understood that the car was a rental which had been hired out to a private detective agency.