As fast as tarmac and competing drivers can vanish behind you in Formula One racing, so can the unfortunate events of the past. In some cases, anyway. Flavio Briatore may still be banned from the sport due to his involvement in the Crashgate debacle, but Mike Coughlan is making short business of putting his scandal behind him, and returning to F1 racing in a big way.
Racing fans on either side of the Atlantic may be familiar with the name Mike Coughlan. The controversial engineer was at the heart of the Spygate scandal between the McLaren and Ferrari teams a few years back and was subsequently ejected from Formula One. While he was waiting for his banishment to expire, he came over to the U.S. where he was working for Michael Waltrip Racing in NASCAR. But as soon as his sentence was up, he was back in F1 with the Williams team. Trouble is, his contract with
As far as racing disciplines go, Formula One and NASCAR are about as different as can be. They run entirely different kinds of cars, on different kinds of tracks, for different types of fans, from garages on opposite sides of the Atlantic. Recent years have seen a handful of F1 drivers trying their hand at stock car racing, but the latest clash of civilizations is set to play itself out not on the race track, but in the court room.
Mike Coughlan hit a pretty nasty bump in his Formula One career. Coughlan was the chief designer for the McLaren F1 team from 2002 through 2007, but it was that last year with McLaren for which Coughlan is remembered, when he was caught possessing technical documents from rival Ferrari. The F1 affair became known as Spygate, and Mike Coughlan was suspended from the sport for two years. McLaren took a major hit as well, when it was stripped of all that season's constructors points and fined $100,
The two-year-old Stepneygate saga – long and complex enough to rival any of the Icelandic sagas – is finally over. A court in Modena, Italy has smacked four McLaren employees with six-figure fines: senior engineers Rod Taylor, Jonathan Neale, and Paddy Lowe are on the hook for €150,000 each (around $190,000 USD); chief designer Mike Coughlan got hit with a €180,000 fine (nearly $230,000).
Wired has posted a lengthy and thorough dissection of what really happened in last year's Stepneygate F1 scandal. The affair turned Ferrari an even more scarlet red, sucked $100,000,000 from McLaren's bank account and eliminated the team from the constructor's championship, ended the F1 careers of two F1 honchos, and possibly ended Ron Dennis' marriage.
Remember the case of the former Ferrari Formula 1 tech who shared his company's secrets with rival McLaren-Mercedes? The FIA has announced that it has concluded its investigation into that matter and Team McLaren-Mercedes will not be penalized. Formula 1's governing body held an "extraordinary meeting" of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris today and found that although McLaren did in fact have possession of confidential Ferrari material, there was 'insufficient evidence that it had been