The international motor racing community was bereaved this weekend to learn of the untimely passing of Nigel Stepney, a well-known (if controversial) racing mechanic who worked for 30 years in Formula One. The 56-year-old Brit appeared to have pulled his Volkswagen Caddy van over to the side of the road on the M20 at Ashford, UK, when a delivery vehicle struck and killed him on impact.
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.
During the Stepneygate scandal over the course of the 2007 Formula 1 season, more than one critic accused the FIA of being on a witch hunt against McLaren. Based on what McLaren said it knew, and what the FIA said it knew, it looked to many like the governing body was simply doing everything possible to put Ferrari in the Championship lead. When the $100,000,000 penalty was given to McLaren, some folks were aghast.
In case you're trying to get up to speed on the whole Formula One espionage case, we were tipped by our buddy Jay that GrandPrix.com has a pretty good summary. Although much of what we've reported already is about the FIA hearings, this gives a pretty good outline of the events behind the case and a timeline of sorts so you can get the whole mess straight in your head -- if you're so inclined.
FIA President Max Mosley (above) announced today that last week's decision by the World Motor sport council will be appealed. It appears the Italian motorsport authorities didn't like the idea of McLaren getting off so easily. Although they found that McLaren had indeed been given Ferrari's confidential materials, the group decided that the British team hadn't benefited from that info and no penalty was assessed. A warning was issued that if their feelings on that matter changed for any reason l
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
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