Honda F1 website

JULY 6, 2007

Now Honda gets involved

The full extent of the scandal, which Formula 1 is now calling "Stepneygate", is about to drag in the Honda F1 team as well as McLaren and Ferrari. There were rumours in the Silverstone paddock on Friday that the Japanese team will make some kind of statement about the situation shortly.

Stepney had two meetings with Honda F1 team members at the end of April. In these meetings he proposed taking a group of top-level designers and engineers to Honda to help the team get on the pace after the disappointing start to the season. Stepney's package would have put him in a very senior position, earning more money and more recognition than was the case at Ferrari. It would also have provided higher profile jobs (and presumably more money) for the others involved. It is believed that one member of this mysterious group was the senior McLaren designer who has been caught up in the scandal but there are believed to be at least four others who were included in the offer. Our sources at Honda say that the team did not discover the identity of the people mentioned as negotiations did not go far enough as Honda had developed its own plans to hire a different selection of engineers. A number of these appointments have since been made public.

This would help to explain possible motives for allegations that Stepney was passing information to the McLaren man, but it also raises additional questions about the identity of the others involved and whether other data might have been gathered from other teams.

It is unlikely that Honda would have been directly offered any of the information involved but such data would obviously have made the group better equpiied to do a good job for their new employer.