Max Mosley has revealed that the Federation Internationale d’Autosport (FIA) has now lifted its restrictions, six months earlier, on Nigel Stepney and Mike Coughlan working with motorsport teams.
“The other day we got a letter from the lawyers of one of them saying he has got this restriction and this restriction, and it does seem a little bit mad to make them serve out even longer when the two teams concerned are all making love to each other,” Mosley said. “So, we have said we will let them forget it. In the end they were just very minor players. If the full story came out, they are two minor players and there are people who are not minor players. But the full story will probably never come out.”
· Stepney (who is now working as Director of Race Technologies at on-board camera company – Gigawave) and Coughlan (who is now working for Ricardo Transmissions) were both fired by McLaren & Ferrari respectively for passing confidential information between the teams in 2007. The FIA also recommended that all license holders should be wary of working with either Stepney or Coughlan until July 2009, although they could not legally enforce this ban.
· McLaren were fined $100 million and excluded from the 2007 constructors’ championship over the affair.
· Criminal charges were also brought against Coughlan and three other Senior McLaren engineers (Paddy Lowe, Jonathan Neale & Rob Taylor) by Italian magistrates, however these charges have now been dropped in exchange for paying fines and not contesting the charges of copyright infringement of Ferrari data. McLaren have agreed to pay each of the three engineers 180,000 Euro fines, but have declined to confirm who will be paying Coughlan’s 180,000 Euro fine.