A former mechanic to seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher and fellow world champ Ayrton Senna has died in a crash, it was reported.
Nigel Stepney was a former mechanic with Ferrari had been accused of sabotage and leaking confidential information and was sacked by Formula One.
He was killed in a road accident on Friday, reported the Irish Independent newspaper. Stepney was 56 years old.
He was killed near the M20 near Ashford after he was hit by a truck. His family described him as a “a wonderful partner and a hands-on dad.”
“Nigel was a wonderful partner and a hands-on dad who was besotted with his daughter who idolised him in return,” reads a statement about him. “They loved each other’s company and Sabine was his shadow – delighting in helping him around the garage. Even if Nigel had to be away from home, he would phone her every day.”
His partner, Ash Naidoo, said: “I am so grateful for the love and support of our friends and Nigel’s colleagues from the world of motor sport, especially JRM.”
Regarding Schumacher’s condition, his manager Sabine Kehm has previously said he was “showing small signs of consciousness” after spending four months in a coma following a skiing accident in France.
“There are short moments of consciousness and he is showing small signs of progress,” Kehm said about Schumacher, according to the Daily Telegraph. “There are moments when he is awake and moments when he is conscious.”
Kehm continued: “Of course I am not a doctor, but medically, there is a distinction between being awake and being conscious, the latter meaning there is an ability to interact with his surroundings. I don’t want to disclose details out of respect for the family, but we have no doubt at all in the abilities of the doctors treating Michael, they are experts in their field.”
Kehm also noted that some media coverage of his condition is inaccurate.
“What upsets the family most is media quoting doctors who are not treating Michael and untruths are constructed from these,” she said. “It has been a problem when outsiders comment and it means we have to set the record straight, even when we don’t want to.”