Spy Coughlan leaves McLaren team

(GMM) Suspended McLaren chief designer Mike Coughlan has now had his contract with the British team officially terminated, reports on Friday said.

The Briton, who was central to the espionage affair last year alongside sacked Ferrari technician Nigel Stepney, reportedly could not be fired for legal reasons but is no longer part of the Mercedes-powered team, the reports claim.

It is also rumored that the FIA will – as in the case of Stepney – shortly recommend that motor sport organizations not employ Coughlan until mid 2009.

Mercedes' racing boss Norbert Haug insisted to Motorsport-Total.com that Coughlan's official departure will not weaken the silver team.

The German said McLaren had functioned well without Coughlan since July of last year.

"And I am sure we are technically stronger today than we were three quarters of a year ago," he added.

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