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[ISN] Nigel Stepney looks to change track after spy admission


By Edward Gorman
Motor Racing Correspondent 
The Times
January 21, 2008

Nigel Stepney, the former Ferrari mechanic who sparked the Ferrari/ 
McLaren Mercedes espionage scandal last year, has admitted that he 
handed information to McLaren, but did not imagine that it would be used 
by the Woking-based team to the degree that it was.

Stepney, who is the subject of legal proceedings in Italy over 
allegations that he gave a large dossier of Ferrari secret technical 
information to McLaren, also said that he does not wish to return to 
Formula One, but hopes to work elsewhere in motor sport. I dont feel 
responsible in anyway for what happened at McLaren, Stepney said in an 
interview due to be transmitted on Sky Sports World Motor Sport show 
this evening. My original [intention], or my ideas, were to make contact 
with somebody, but not to benefit [myself]; it was to talk about and see 
what I could do somewhere else with a group of people.

Obviously it got a bit sensitive and somebody used information more than 
I actually thought it [should have been] or not more than it should have 
been, it should never have been used . . . to that extreme.

Stepneys remarks, in his first British television interview since he was 
sacked by Ferrari, confirm that one of the reasons he made contact with 
Mike Coughlan, the disgraced former design director at McLaren, was 
because they were both planning to leave their teams and move to a new 
employer, widely thought to have been Honda.

The British mechanic said that the intention was to put a group of 
people together and talk. As for himself, he said: I think, at the end 
of this year or at the end of 2007, I was looking to get out of Ferrari 
anyway; whether it was going to be in Formula One I wasnt quite sure. I 
think Formula One was going away from a direction I really wanted to go.

Stepney said that he hopes to be back working in the sport, but not 
Formula One, this year. Ive got a lot of other more interesting 
opportunities going back into . . . the grass roots of motor racing, he 
said. Dont get me wrong, Formula One Ive worked in for many years, Ive 
enjoyed it, Ive made a living out of it, its been a very good experience 
in life, but I think I . . . prefer to go into a sort of a grassroots 
racing again.

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