A former Ferrari engineer who was sacked by the Formula One team after being accused of sabotage and leaking confidential data has been killed in a road accident, his family said tonight.
Ex-Ferrari technician Nigel Stepney was killed on the M20 near Ashford in Kent when he was struck by a lorry this morning. He was praised tonight by his family as "a wonderful partner and a hands-on dad".
The 56-year-old father found himself at the centre of a Formula One "spygate" scandal after being accused of sabotage and leaking confidential data to McLaren in 2007, and was sacked by the F1 team.
Relatives of passengers on the missing flight MH370 were told they had to leave a hotel because it was booked by the Ferrari Formula One racing team competing in the Malaysian Grand Prix.
F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone told NBC News the booking at the Cyberview Hotel in Kuala Lumpur would have been made long before the Malaysia Airlines jet disappeared two weeks ago.
He said: "I feel terribly, terribly sorry for these people. But it is up to the hotel. What would happen if you told somebody that they no longer had a booking? You would get sued, I’d imagine.”
In an email to the Daily News Autos a Ferrari representative also showed sympathy:
"We are deeply saddened by the unfolding of the events for the families of those missing on Malaysia Airlines flight
"We did not receive any request to change hotel from Cyberview nor were we made aware that some families were staying at this hotel. The reservation was made in May last year following the '13 Grand Prix."