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The waters muddy as Italian media names Whitmarsh

NEWS STORY
18/07/2007

Corriere della Sera is the latest Italian newspaper claiming to have seen Mike Coughlan's sworn affidavit, and if we are to believe what it claims to have seen in the document the 2007 Formula One World Championship is about to be rocked.

Ignoring who and why someone appears to be leaking snippets of info to the Italian media, in a piece that compares Coughlan's actions to those of St Peter when he denied Jesus Christ three times - the newspaper claims that the Englishman was involved in three acts of betrayal.

The newspaper claims that Coughlan received the documents following a chance meeting with Nigel Stepney in Barcelona. The Englishman, according to Corriere della Sera subsequently spoke of the documents to various people at McLaren, who, one after the other, turned him away, saying that they didn't wish to be involved. However, according to the newspaper when the first person doesn't listen to him, he didn't give up, and merely proceeded to the next, then the next.

According to the newspaper in his sworn affidavit, Coughlan claims to have named McLaren Managing Director Jonathan Neale, Engineering Director Paddy Lowe and - wait for it - Chief Operating Officer Martin Whitmarsh.

"I went first to Jonathan Neale, but he told me not to be a fool and destroy everything," Coughlan is quoted as having written in his affidavit. "Then I told Paddy Lowe, and he too didn't want to know anything about it. Finally, I went to Martin Whitmarsh; for the third time I was told to destroy the material".

As Corriere della Sera points out, Coughlan, Lowe and Whitmarsh are not three 'ordinary' members of the McLaren team, they are three of the most important members of the organization, only out-ranked by Ron Dennis and Mercedes' Norbert Haug.

Coughlan makes it clear that none of the three were shown the documents, they were merely told that they were in his possession.

The newspaper clearly finds it difficult to accept that none of the three allowed their curiosity to get the better of them and glance at the inside info on their biggest rivals. It also points out that despite knowing the rules, none of the three reported the matter to the FIA.

As for Stepney, despite talk of a chance encounter, the paper wants to know why the Englishman had the 780 pages of documentation in his possession in the first place.

Returning to the analogy used by Corriere della Sera, one suspects that someone is going to be crucified after next week's hearing... but who?

There were three crosses on Mount Calvary, how many will we see in the Place de la Concorde?

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