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F1 NEWS 

Stepney disappointed with Coughlan's take

Nigel Stepney is waiting for Mike Coughlan to explain his position in the spy scandal, after insisting on Monday that he had not handed any Ferrari data to McLaren's suspended chief designer.

Stepney was interviewed on Monday by an Italian magistrate probing last year's spying scandal, and the former Ferrari mechanic said he had nothing to hide.

His lawyer Sonia Bartolini said Stepney had again denied having given any Ferrari information to Coughlan.

"When questioned my client rejected the accusation of having given Coughlan the 780-page dossier with Ferrari projects to give to McLaren," Bartolini was quoted as saying by Gazzetta dello Sport.

"There were always contacts between them, but there never was a hand-over of written documents.

"It's true that Nigel met Coughlan in Barcelona last spring to organize a move to Honda. They scribbled some drawings, that's it. In fact Nigel struggled to identify those 780 pages because he never had them at his disposal. Maybe all that material got stolen, but that has nothing to do with Stepney.

"This is why he's disappointed with Coughlan and his contradicting statements, while Stepney's statements to the magistrate are consistent with those given to the FIA."

Gazzetta reports that there is a possibility Coughlan and Stepney will be interrogated at the same time, face-to-face.

"At the moment, the interrogation of Stepney is more than enough," Magistrate Giuseppe Tibis said. "He collaborated by answering every question. As for the other people under investigation, it will be up to them to decide whether to show up or not.

"I've already invited them, maybe I'll see some of them in March."

Bartolini added: "The confrontation is fine, Stepney has nothing to hide. If anyone, it's Coughlan the one who has to make his position clear: from Great Britain we understand that he's never been removed from McLaren. We count on getting hold of documentation that testifies Stepney's good will."

Tibis was was to question leading McLaren figures, including team boss Ron Dennis and F1 CEO Martin Whitmarsh, on Monday but the meeting was put back.

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