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Stepney dismissed by Ferrari

Nigel Stepney, the engineer at the centre of a legal enquiry over possible sabotage at Ferrari, has now been dismissed by the Maranello team.

The Ferrari stalwart, who was viewed as one of the key figures in the resurrection of the Italian outfit's fortunes over the past decade, is under investigation by the Modena district attorney amid claims he sabotaged the Ferrari cars prior to the Monaco Grand Prix.

The exact details of the case are not known, but it is understood that it revolves around a tampering with the fuel tanks on the F2007s before they were shipped to Monte Carlo for May's race.

Although those claims have been denied by Stepney and his lawyer, Ferrari have now completed their internal investigation into the matter and have dismissed him. This took place in Stepney's absence, because he is currently away on holiday in the Philippines.

A Ferrari spokesman confirmed to "An internal disciplinary procedure has been completed and Nigel Stepney is no longer an employee of Ferrari."

Stepney told The Sunday Times recently that he was convinced of his innocence and confident he would be cleared of all charges.

"I have confidence I'll be cleared by the legal process that is now taking place," he said.

"It is just part of a dirty tricks campaign and everything is in the hands of my lawyer, so we'll wait and see what happens."

Stepney has made no secret of the fact that that he has been looking at leaving Ferrari, and he recently held talks with Honda about a move to the Brackley-based team.

The lawyer who is representing Stepney, Sonia Bartolini, said recently that the Briton would likely hold a press conference on his return to prove his innocence. He is due back in Italy later this week.

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