The Stepneygate Saga that has rocked F1 the last few weeks, just keeps getting more surreal and more bizarre.
The man at the centre of all this cafuffle, our Nige, has reportedly flown back into Italy in the last few days and admitted he is surprised by the actions taken against him by Ferrari. Not as surprised as us Nige we can assure you. Whether this surprise stems from the fact he didn’t reckon on getting caught by Ferrari CCTV liberally dousing race cars in Daz washing detergent, or getting found out about handing out Ferrari Design Dossiers to all and sundry we are not entirely sure.
Still our Nige is convinced he has done nothing wrong, and that any legal proceedings will clear him of any wrongdoing. Meanwhile the Media (who are having a field day) are reporting that two other people are currently being probed in the investigation as well. As yet no names are forthcoming as to the identity of these so-called villains, no doubt though they have done nothing so very wrong either.
According to current Media reports, McLaren’s Mike Coughlan got ‘shopped’ to Ferrari for having his sticky mitts on their bedtime reading by…a shop assistant. Apparently (if rumours are to be believed) the keen-eyed shop moll spotted Mike trying to photocopy the secret documents and recognised the Ferrari Insignia. One has to wonder if the hapless dolt strode into the shop in full McLaren regalia brandishing the secret documents for all to see. Sometimes these top minds really do have absolutely no common sense. No doubt if he had gone in with a black curly wig, sporting a dodgy Italian accent and with a jar of Dolmio in hand, no-one would be any the wiser right now. But bravo to the eagle-eyed shop assistant, who no doubt by now has been promoted to the head of Ferrari’s newly formed Counter-spying and Espionage Department.
Rumours currently circulating, suggest that Nigel Stepney and Mike Coughlan had planned to abscond off to Honda together before a slightly lapse photocopying session landed them both in tepid water. One can only think there is no smoke without fire, and the pair might be happily together yet albeit as cellmates somewhere in Italy.
Meanwhile McLaren CEO Ron Dennis has been nominated this year for an Oscar for best dramatic performance, for his stirling tear-jerking response yesterday at the opening of McLaren’s new Motorhome in the Silverstone Paddock. The Ronster apparently having to fight back tears (nothing to do with Norbert Haug’s underarm deodorant then?) while making a statement about his teams involvement in the Stepneygate Saga.
“It has been a difficult two or three days, especially for me,” said Dennis. “My personal integrity is very important to me and my company’s integrity is even more important to me. The press releases we have put out really say everything.
“We are in a process. We are working closely with the FIA and closely with Ferrari.
“This matter does not involve our company. Of course, that is not the way understandably everybody sees it at the moment. Some of you (the media) have been very supportive of McLaren, I think some of you have been a little harsh on McLaren.
“But I understand depending which country you are in, and depending on the information you have available to you, you are going to form opinions.” Ron said, sobbing like a schoolgirl.
Now here at FFN we are slightly baffled, according to Ron no-one else apart from Mike Coughlan has read the Ferrari Dossier, but McLaren are claiming they know for definite none of it has been used in their development programme. How would you know unless you know what it contains within? Maybe we should take some advice from Renault’s Team Boss Flavio Briatore, who kindly informed us during the FIA Press Conference in France that Ron knows everything….so who are we to challenge his statements?
Secondly if the integrity of his team is so damned important to him, how come Ron allows them to sneakily write to the FIA asking them if they too can use parts on their vehicle that other teams have adopted. Especially when they know very well it will result in the banning of said device? That doesn’t seem like integrity to us, more like ‘snitching’. But what would we know?
One thing is for certain; things will only get messier and more complicated as the sordid tale unravels bit by bit….