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White Powder Sabotage Claims At Ferrari Were True

White Powder Sabotage Claims At Ferrari Were True

Civil courts in Modena have announced that the Ferrari team were on the receiving end of a sabotage plot just prior to the 2007 Monaco Grand Prix. At the time, then-employee Nigel Stepney was seen in an tightly controlled area of the factory loitering around the Ferrari cars that were due to be sent to the Principality for the race. A white powder was then found in the fuel tanks of the cars, which sparked a thorough investigation and eventually, Stepney’s job and McLaren’s reputation took a substantial hit.

Nigel Stepney was fired after it became known that documents containing Ferrari policies and part details had been leaked to Mike Coughlan, a McLaren employee at the time. While the investigation into this led to McLaren receiving a hefty fine and exclusion from the 2007 Constructors championship, the case of the mysterious white powder was never officially explained.

To this day, it still remains a bit of a mystery, but a magistrate has decided that there was a plot to sabotage the Ferrari team and that Stepney was most likely to have been involved. What the white powder is we still don’t know, and what damage it could have caused isn’t known either. However, Stepney’s lawyer is reported to have said the accusations are vague and inexact. It is likely that nothing can be proven in this part of what became known as Stepney-gate, but clearly the case is still ongoing as Ferrari try to work out exactly what happened.

Oliver White

9 comments

  • This story just gets wierder as it goes on. Vitamins and food supplement? To me that doesn’t sound like it would be the first choice material to put in a fuel tank.

    The other point is I would have assumed Stepney would have access all areas as far as the car was concerned. I can’t imagine why Stepney being near the car would be an issue or remotely unusual.

  • Also, if the powder was vitamins:

    a) Hadn’t Nigel heard of plastic containers or even cardboard boxes? Few people would allow powdered vitamins to spill in their pockets for any reason (this applies whether he’s guilty or not).

    b) Wouldn’t the powder, in that case, have dissolved in the wash? Vitamins generally dissolve quite readily in water…

  • […] White Powder Sabotage Claims At Ferrari Were True – BlogF1"However, Stepney’s lawyer is reported to have said the accusations are vague and inexact. It is likely that nothing can be proven in this part of what became known as Stepney-gate, but clearly the case is still ongoing as Ferrari try to work out exactly what happened." […]

  • I can’t imagine why Stepney being near the car would be an issue or remotely unusual.

    I remember this being reported at the time, and I think it had something to do with timing. As in, nobody would have any reason to be there at that time, or something.

    I’m pleased we found out what the powder was though – vitamins, lol.

    Regarding the powder dissolving in the wash, we don’t necessarily know that the trousers were washed. Maybe Stepney’s washing machine was on the blink, or may be he has so many pairs he only washes them every now and then? I totally get the whole not in a container point though. That is very strange.

  • I was under the impression of contaminating a fuel tank with a substance(usally sugar) was a old wife`s tale, because of the temperatures and pressures involved inside a cylinder block anything introduced would be obliterated in the combustion cycle, but if anyone knows more please correct me :-). If they thought it would inhibit the fuel flow it would of surely shown up on various censors?. As it involves a Ferrari benefit, I smell a Rat

  • Oliver, I’m not saying the trousers necessarily were washed, but surely someone with intent to use vitamins in a dodgy manner possessing half a gram of sense would have made sure the trousers were washed – properly – after putting the vitamins in the pocket.

    Perhaps Ferrari were worried about the fuel being contaminated and therefore failing an FIA inspection before the car was next run (there’s no rule stopping them from investigating fuel in the middle of the weekend as a random “spot check”, especially if another team had seen Stepney and protested to the FIA).

  • Maybe the trousers were taken to a local laundromat to be washed, staff there just happened to notice the white powder, and just happened to call Ferrari and alert them to the suspicious powder…… 😀

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