Nigel Stepney

14 November 1958 – 2 May 2014

British Formula One mechanic for Shadow, Lotus, Benetton and chiefly Ferrari during their dominant period with Michael Schumacher in the early 2000s, holding several technical roles with the Scuderia, including chief mechanic and technical manager. His limelight moments were restricted to several pitlane mishaps: being struck by a detached wheel from Michele Alboreto’s Minardi in one of the undercard incidents of the tragic 1994 San Marino Grand Prix and being dragged along the pitlane after Schumacher bolted before the refuelling rig was withdrawn at the 2000 Spanish Grand Prix. This all changed, however, in 2007, when he became the focus of the ‘spygate’ scandal, being sacked by Ferrari and later convicted of a variety of crimes for passing over 800 pages of sensitive technical information to McLaren and attempting to sabotage Kimi Raikonnen’s car, all apparently as part of a petty revenge attempt for not being promoted. McLaren were fined €100 million and disqualified from that year’s Constructers Championship. The true extent of Stepney’s involvement was never clearly established. Stepney never worked in F1 again, but did manage the JRM Racing team in the World Endurance Championships. He died in 2014, aged 55, after being hit by a lorry on the M20 in Kent.

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