Mike Coughlan, McLaren's chief designer, is the senior engineer suspected of espionage against Ferrari, autosport.com has learned.
The 48-year-old Briton is suspected of unlawfully obtaining technical material belonging to Ferrari in collaboration with Ferrari's Nigel Stepney.
In a search conducted at Coughlan's house today, documents allegedly belonging to Ferrari were found, leading McLaren to suspend him while Ferrari said they reserve the right to pursue further legal action.
Coughlan joined McLaren as chief designer in August 2002 after four years with the Arrows F1 team. His initial role there was chief designer, and in the last couple of years at Arrows he was promoted to technical director.
Coughlan was also head of the design office at Benetton in 1991, and later in his career worked for the Ferrari Design and Development office in England. He also worked as race engineer at Tyrrell in the mid-1990s.