FIA investigates McLaren actions in Monaco

The FIA has launched an investigation into "incidents involving McLaren" at the Monaco Grand Prix, in regard to a possible breach of the sporting regulations. The sport's governing body did not specify what those incidents were but it's widely presumed they involve the alleged use of team orders.

Fernando Alonso, McLaren Mercedes, MP4-22 and Lewis Hamilton, McLaren Mercedes, MP4-22.
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Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton lined up on pole position and second place on the grid and at the start Hamilton ducked in behind Alonso. The pair then held formation for the rest of the race, although whether it was the nature of the circuit that caused it or complying with McLaren's wishes was arguable.

However, team boss Ron Dennis revealed afterwards that he had told the drivers to "slow their pace" after the first round of pit stops and "effect our strategy". He professed not to like the situation but "that's what you have to do to win the Monaco GP and I'm not going to make any excuses for it."

Dennis' view was that using 'strategy' to win a race was not the same as using team orders to 'manipulate' a race. Unsurprisingly, given that Hamilton is currently the darling of the British sporting press, the UK media immediately accused McLaren of implementing team orders and denying Hamilton his maiden victory.

Team orders that influence the outcome of a race have been banned since 2002 after Ferrari told Rubens Barrichello to move over for Michael Schumacher at the Austrian GP. Hamilton being 'robbed' of his first win is debatable, as even if McLaren had let its drivers race there's nothing to say that Hamilton would have got past his teammate.

McLaren is confident that there was nothing wrong with the way they handled the race. "McLaren are completely comfortable with the FIA's investigation into our race strategy and that all decisions taken both before and during the race were completely in compliance with the international sporting code," a spokesperson said.

The brief FIA statement concluded: "The relevant evidence is under review and a further announcement will be made in due course."