Ferrari have confirmed that they have instigated legal action against McLaren’s chief designer Mike Coughlan over the “theft of technical information.” Earlier this week, Ferrari dismissed Nigel Stepney suspected sabotage and espionage’ Today, McLaren have confirmed that they have suspended a senior member of staff after finding that he had illegally obtained technical material belonging to Ferrari.
Ferrari released a statement saying, “Ferrari announces it has recently presented a case against Nigel Stepney and an engineer from the Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes team with the Modena Tribunal, concerning the theft of technical information. Furthermore, legal action has been instigated in England and a search warrant has been issued concerning the engineer. This produced a positive outcome.
“Ferrari reserves the right to consider all implications, be they criminal, civil or of any other nature, according to the applicable laws.”
Mike Coughlan joined McLaren in August 2002 as chief designer after spending four years at Arrows F1 where he worked initially as chief designer before being promoted to technical director. Coughlan had previously worked for Benetton, Ferrari Design and Development and Tyrrell.
The FIA have confirmed they are monitoring the saga saying, “We have received information on this matter which we are examining at the moment.”