Coughlan to answer Ferrari questions

The Ferrari/McLaren espionage saga hit the courtrooms this week and in London chief designer Mike Coughlan, who was finally officially named as the accused McLaren engineer, has agreed to provide a sworn statement to answer Ferrari's questions...

The Ferrari/McLaren espionage saga hit the courtrooms this week and in London chief designer Mike Coughlan, who was finally officially named as the accused McLaren engineer, has agreed to provide a sworn statement to answer Ferrari's questions about his involvement in the ongoing affair.

A hearing scheduled for today, July 11th, was cancelled when Coughlan, who has been accused of taking Ferrari technical information without consent, agreed to the affidavit. Coughlan's wife was also cited in the proceedings; she allegedly took several hundred pages of Ferrari papers to be photocopied.

It was apparently an employee of the photocopying shop that bought Ferrari's attention to the rather large amount of documents copied and thus started the whole saga. Ferrari subsequently obtained a court order to have Coughlin's house searched and the documents were reportedly found on computer discs.

Ferrari's head of performance development Nigel Stepney was sacked and the general assumption is that Stepney was the one who passed the information to Coughlan. Stepney still protests his innocence and has been quoted as saying that he has no idea how Coughlan obtained the documents he allegedly has.

It came to light in the court hearing this week that McLaren's managing director Johnathon Neale was aware that Coughlin was in possession of the information, although it's not certain if he knew about it before Ferrari started legal proceedings. McLaren has always maintained that it was not involved in the affair.

Ferrari yesterday requested that the London High Court would permit them to pass on information gathered under court order to authorities in Modena, where a criminal investigation is being held against Stepney. However, with Coughlan agreeing to the affidavit it's reported that in return Ferrari has withdrawn that request.

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Series Formula 1
Teams Ferrari , McLaren