The Reuters news agency is reporting that former Ferrari chief mechanic Nigel Stepney – the man who instigated the entire Spygate’ scandal that rocked F1 in 2007 – has been sentenced to 20 months’ prison for his role in the affair.

Nigel Stepney However, under the Italian legal system, it is believed he will be unlikely to actually have to serve any sentence.

Ferrari brought criminal proceedings against Stepney in June 2007, weeks before the scandal broke international news headlines, where it accused the Briton of attempting to sabotage Ferrari’s cars (through contaminating the fuel tanks) and releasing confidential data to McLaren, the outfit’s chief championship rival.

McLaren’s Mike Coughlan was the recipient of Ferrari’s technical dossier, and the team was found guilty of its part in the affair and fined an incredible $100 million and excluded from the 2007 Constructors’ Championship.

Some observers were curious that McLaren was fined and punished for the actions of a rogue employee, yet Ferrari escaped with no such penalty for the actions of its own rogue employee – the team romped to the Constructors’ title with no meaningful opposition once McLaren was kicked out.

The entire motive for Stepney’s actions is believed to stem from the sense of betrayal he allegedly felt when not promoted to a trackside technical role within the squad, after being a loyal chief mechanic at the Scuderia for some years.

It is believed that Stepney’s legal team entered into a plea bargain at the Sassuolo courts, with the jail sentence issued along with a paltry €600 fine.

[Original image via YallaF1]

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Richard Bailey

Founder & Chief Editor at MotorsportM8
Hasn't missed a Grand Prix since 1989. Has a soft spot for Minardi. Tattooed with 35+ Grand Prix circuits.