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F1 NEWS 

Ferrari confirm action against McLaren man

Ferrari have confirmed they instigated legal action against a senior McLaren engineer in both Italy and England, saying this concerns "the theft of technical information."

The Maranello-based outfit dismissed Nigel Stepney after initiating legal actions against him, claiming he was involved in sabotage and espionage against Ferrari.

And today McLaren revealed they have suspended a senior member of their staff after discovering he unlawfully obtained technical material belonging to Ferrari.

In a statement issued this evening, the Italian team said: "Ferrari announces it has recently presented a case against Nigel Stepney and an engineer from the Vodafone McLaren-Mercedes team with the Modena Tribunal, concerning the theft of technical information.

"Furthermore, legal action has been instigated in England and a search warrant has been issued concerning the engineer. This produced a positive outcome.

"Ferrari reserves the right to consider all implications, be they criminal, civil or of any other nature, according to the applicable laws."

Autosport.com understands the search already took place today in the McLaren engineer's house, with incriminating material found. This then led McLaren to suspend the engineer.

As the affair looks set to dominate paddock talk in the forthcoming race, an FIA spokesman said they are monitoring the situation.

"We have received information on this matter which we are examining at the moment," he said today.

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