A third team is being dragged into the Ferrari-McLaren espionage affair - Honda. The German specialist publication Auto Motor und Sport now reports that, in addition to McLaren, disgruntled Ferrari veteran Nigel Stepney had also offered classified team data to his colleagues at the Japanese team, but they turned him down.
It is additionally rumoured in the Silverstone paddock that both he and McLaren's suspended chief designer Mike Coughlan intended to defect to Brackley based Honda, and that the Nick Fry-led outfit intend to clarify their position with an official statement later on Friday. Auto Motor und Sport says the sacked Stepney and Coughlan were trying to pool information and also proposing to bring a group of engineers to Honda, who were targeted as a struggling but well-funded operation that could offer high profile and highly paid jobs.
It is also suggested that McLaren's managing director Jonathan Neale tried to prevent the affair from exploding by asking Coughlan to destroy the stolen Ferrari information before it had been copied or used or fully analysed. (GMM)
Honda admits meeting with F1 spies
Honda team principal Nick Fry met with Ferrari-McLaren spies Nigel Stepney and Mike Coughlan last month, it was clarified at Silverstone on Friday. As predicted earlier, Brackley based Honda released a statement at the scene of the British grand prix admitting contact with the pair who are in the middle of the scandalous case of alleged industrial espionage.
Honda said the pair were "investigating job opportunities". The statement also read: "Honda would like to stress that at no point during this meeting was any confidential information offered or received."