• Nigel Stepney - 1958-2014

Nigel Stepney dies in road accident

ESPN Staff
May 2, 2014 « Maldonado: Top five possible for Lotus | Policing a budget cap 'not difficult' »
© Getty Images

The Ferrari mechanic at the heart of the 'Spygate' affair, Nigel Stepney, has died in a road accident at the age of 56.

Stepney had a long career in Formula One, which started at Shadow in 1977 and took him to Lotus, Benetton and Ferrari. He left F1 after his involvement in the 2007 'Spygate' scandal between McLaren and Ferrari, in which he was accused of passing a 780-page technical document to the British team.

He moved to working in sports cars and was an employee for JRM from 2010 up until the time of his death. James Rumsey, the owner of JRM, paid tribute to Stepney.

"From the moment Nigel joined JRM in 2010, he was a vitally important member of the team and brought a level of engineering experience to us that was unrivalled," Rumsey said. "A man that engineered Ayrton Senna at Lotus and helped to guide Michael Schumacher to five Formula One world championships with Ferrari was the perfect candidate to establish JRM as a serious team in circuit-based motorsport and the role that he played in achieving that standard will never be underestimated or forgotten.

"Nigel was an intense and fierce competitor and always strived for excellence in our racing. We certainly could not have achieved our level of success without his leadership and experience. Away from the track, he was a focused, driven and passionate member of the JRM Group, and a loving father to his family.

"The rest of the engineering and race team here at JRM learned an unimaginable amount from Nigel in the four short years he was with us and his death this morning has shocked everyone to the core. Today, the motorsport world has lost one of its greatest characters and competitors. He will be sorely missed and we send our sincere condolences to his family and the many friends he leaves behind. Our prayers and thoughts are with Ash and Sabine."