Stepney: I was set-up

Former Ferrari man Nigel Stepney, accused of giving away confidential information to rival team McLaren, has said he was set-up.

Talking to Italian newspaper La Repubblica, Stepney said, “I did not take any designs away from Ferrari. Someone passed on the designs but it wasn t me. I do not want to involve other colleagues. I know one part of the story, not all. Ferrari know the whole story.”

In April, Stepney is alleged to have sent a 780-page dossier to McLaren s Mike Coughlan. Stepney denied any wrong-doing however a subsequent search of Coughlan s house revealed Ferrari documents. Ferrari fired Stepney and McLaren suspended Coughlan.

Last week, the FIA found McLaren guilty of breaching the international sporting code but failed to dole out any punishment.

Stepney is also facing criminal charges in Italy for attempted sabotage after a mysterious white powder was found in the fuel tanks of the Ferrari cars, six days before the race at Monaco. It is alleged that traces of the powder were found on a pair of Stepney s trousers.

“I didn t put it there,” Stepney said. “They put the powder in my trouser pocket while I was taking a shower.” As to who ‘they refers to, Stepney didn t say.

Stepney has also claimed that he was not the only disgruntled employee at Ferrari. It is thought Stepney was disappointed not to be promoted to technical director when Ross Brawn went on sabbatical. Instead, he was given a job away from the race-track. He claims that one he realised he was falling out of favour, he realised he was not the only one and that members of several teams were thinking about forming a breakaway team with Ross Brawn as leader.

Stepney has now said he has found a new job, away from Italy and unrelated to Formula 1.