Nigel Stepney’s long-awaited account of his involvement in the 2007 ‘Spygate’ scandal will finally be told, with confirmation that his autobiography will be on the shelves before the end of the year.
The disgraced former Ferrari engineer had planned to publish his explosive memoirs, Red Mist, some time ago, but his publisher backed out.
It had been rumoured that his former employer, Ferrari, had requested that the book not be released.
Stepney was fired in the early part of 2007 by Ferrari, where it is believed that he had tried to sabotage their cars at the Monaco Grand Prix by adding a solution – believed to be sugar – to their fuel tanks. His actions are understood to have been as a result of being reappointed to a more behind-the-scenes role during the off-season.
Around the same time, he forwarded a several-hundred-page dossier of the team’s F2007 designs to Mike Coughlan, who was McLaren’s chief designer at the time.
The details of what became known as the ‘Spygate’ incident became public later in the year when Coughlan’s wife was reported to Ferrari officials by staff at a local photocopy centre, when she attempted to make copies of the dossier.
Ferrari launched espionage proceedings – claiming that McLaren had improperly used its designs – which resulted in a record $100 million fine for McLaren and the Woking team being stripped of its points and prize money for that year’s Constructors’ Championship standings.
Coughlan was also banned from the sport, later turning up as the design lead for the stillborn Stefan GP project, before being hired to join the Williams team late last year.
Stepney – who has not been involved in F1 since his sacking – was never officially punished for his actions.
Publicity details for his autobiography claim that it will provide “an in-depth and honest account of the recent ‘Stepneygate’ saga in his own words”.
According to a report in the German-language Speed Weeki, it should be in-store by Christmas.