Stepney Update 6: it was Coughlan
On July 4th, McLaren stated that it had suspended an unnamed team engineer due to involvement in the theft of secret internal documents from Ferrari.
It is now being reported in the British newspaper The Times that it was the man who has been the chief designer at McLaren since 2002, Mike Coughlan, who allegedly received those confidential Ferrari documents from Ferrari’s development director, Nigel Stepney. According to The Times, Ferrari has made “no attempt” to deny a German internet report that Stepney had provided 500 pages of secret Ferrari documents to Coughlan. According to the reports, the documents were provided to Coughlan this past April and gave a “comprehensive picture of Ferrari’s activities on the track and in the design studio.”
Coughlin got caught, it is reported, because he took the documents to a shop to be photocopied. An employee at the shop recognized that the documents, which were stamped with the Ferrari logo, were internal Ferrari documents and informed the company. In turn, Ferrari consulted lawyers in London, and then made an emergency application to a British court on July 2nd, apparently resulting in a search of Coughlan’s residence which recovered the documents.
The overall boss of the McLaren team was quoted by The Times as say, “I live and breathe this team. There is no way anything incorrect would every happen in our team.”