Stepney’s career hangs in the balance

Nigel Stepney s career hangs in the balance today after the FIA recommended that teams should avoid working with the former Ferrari engineer.

Stepney, who was at the centre of last year s espionage row, is currently under police investigation in Italy for passing on Ferrari information to rivals Mclaren.

While the FIA s recommendation stands until July 2009, the regulating body acknowledged that it was not in a position to issue Stepney with an outright ban.

In a statement the FIA said:

“In its investigations of last year regarding the unauthorised use of intellectual property within Formula One, the FIA heard allegations that Mr Nigel Stepney, then employed by Ferrari, had passed confidential Ferrari information to an employee of Vodafone McLaren Mercedes.

“Mr Stepney has admitted this allegation and apologised to the FIA, though he disputes the seriousness and extent of his involvement.

“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).

“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.”