AUGUST 3, 2007
The Stepneygate scandal has taken yet another weird turn with the news that Nigel Stepney, speaking through his lawyer, has denied that he was the source of the e-mails sent to McLaren at the time of the Australian Grand Prix. McLaren says this tip-off resulted in the team going to the FIA to question the Ferrari's floor fixation system.
This apparently contradicts the information contained in Mike Coughlan's affidavit, weakens Ferrari's claims that Stepney was a McLaren spy and undermines McLaren's defence that Stepney was whistle-blowing.
Stepney has also denied handing over 780 pages of Ferrari documentation to Mike Coughlan when the McLaren chief designer met him in Barcelona on April 28.
It is fairly easy for McLaren to show that Mike Coughlan's computer received a number of messages from Stepney's e-mail address, but it is also conceivable - albeit highly unlikely - that someone else could have been sending messages using his e-mail address.
It makes little sense for anyone else at Ferrari to have tipped off McLaren about a problem with the legality of the Ferrari.
The claim thus either undermines Stepney's credibility as a witness, or supports his claims that he has been set-up by Ferrari, depending on what one wants to believe.