Nigel Stepney, a former engineer with Ferrari has died. The 56-year-old was killed in a road traffic accident this morning reported by GPUpdate. He leaves behind his partner, Ash and daughter, Sabine.
Stepney, who began his F1 career with Shadow in the late 1970s, had spells with Team Lotus and Benetton before joining the Scuderia. He was sacked by the Maranello team in 2007, after it was alleged he handed confidential information to then McLaren Technical Director Mike Coughlan.
In 2010, Stepney was recruited by JRM and most recently held the position of Team Manager and Technical Director, overseeing the continued development of the 2014-specification Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3. He helped the team win the FIA GT1 World Championship in 2011 and then led them into the FIA World Endurance Championship the following year.
“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,” said James Rumsey, the owner of JRM. “A man that engineered Ayrton Senna at Lotus and helped to guide Michael Schumacher to five Formula 1 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. Our prayers and thoughts are with Ash and Sabine.”
Formula 1 Blog wishes to extend its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Nigel.