McLaren Mercedes has been called -- "invited" in the lexicon -- to an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council of the FIA. The International Automobile Federation (FIA) is the sanctioning body of Formula One. The meeting has been ...
McLaren Mercedes has been called -- "invited" in the lexicon -- to an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council of the FIA. The International Automobile Federation (FIA) is the sanctioning body of Formula One. The meeting has been scheduled for April 29 in the FIA's Paris headquarters.
McLaren also confirmed today that Sporting Director Dave Ryan is no longer with the team.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, April 7, 2009, the Council seeks that McLaren "answer charges" that it breached Article 151c of the International Sporting Code.
The statement cited that McLaren told stewards at the Australian Grand Prix that, contrary to fact, driver Lewis Hamilton had not been instructed to let Toyota driver Jarno Trulli pass when both cars were behind a safety car; that Hamilton was "procured" to support and confirm this untrue statement; that Truli and Toyota had been unfairly penalized without McLaren effort to correct the injustice; that a second hearing in Malaysia elicited the same story from a McLaren representative and Hamilton despite their hearing contradictory radio communication, and that McLaren again pressed Hamilton, the current World Champion, into giving a false statement to officials.
The incident in question involved fourth-placed Hamilton exchanging places with third-placed Trulli in the final laps of the Australian Grand Prix, which finished under a safety car after Sebastian Vettel of Red Bull and Robert Kubica of BMW Sauber collided. While under full-course caution, Trulli went off course and Hamilton passed. At that moment, Hamilton held third place legitimately.
McLaren team radio communication included instruction to Hamilton to let Trulli pass even though Trulli's pass would be illegal for being under caution. Race stewards who had been caught up in the Vettel-Kubica incident only later penalized Trulli. The late-lap incident obviated use of a drive-through penalty so stewards handed Trulli a 25-second time penalty, which dropped the Italian to 12th and promoted Hamilton to third. Hamilton described the incident fully to reporters after the race but left out details when he spoke to stewards later that night
Officials revisited the matter in Malaysia, reviewed materials they had not had in Australia, and disqualified Hamilton, stripping him of points. Hamilton called an extraordinary news conference in Malaysia after his disqualification from the Australian race and, near tears, blamed Ryan for telling him to lie to officials.
This afternoon, McLaren responded to the FIA summons, staring: "McLaren acknowledges receipt of an invitation to appear at an FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris on April 29, received this afternoon. We undertake to co-operate fully with all WMSC processes and welcome the opportunity to work with the FIA in the best interests of Formula 1."
Ryan, who was suspended from duties and sent back to the United Kingdom from the race in Malaysia, has "departed the team." Ryan had worked for McLaren for 35 years.
The World Motor Sport Council is the body that stripped McLaren of all points and levied a $100 million fine in 2007 when the team was found to be in possession of hundreds of pages of confidential Ferrari documents.
The newest scandal reportedly has Hamilton and his manager, his father Anthony Hamilton, reviewing their options in terms of staying with McLaren. The team under former Team Principal Ron Dennis has supported the driver since adolescence. They could decide McLaren has breached its contract by calling Hamilton's character into question. Wording of the FIA statement Tuesday suggests Hamilton will face no further sanctions.
McLaren is under direction of a new Team Principal, Martin Whitmarsh, former chief executive who on March 1, 2009, succeeded Ron Dennis. Whitmarsh said in Malaysia that options he faces in the situation include his resignation.
Extraordinary Meeting of the World Motor Sport Council
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has been invited to appear before an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Wednesday, 29 April, 2009, to answer charges that, in breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code, it on 29 March, 2009, told the stewards of the Australian Grand Prix that no instructions were given to Hamilton in Car No. 1 to allow Trulli in Car no. 9 to pass when both cars were behind the safety car, knowing this statement to be untrue; procured its driver Hamilton the current World Champion, to support and confirm this untrue statement to the stewards; although knowing that as a direct result of its untrue statement to the stewards, another driver and a rival team had been unfairly penalised, made no attempt to rectify the situation either by contacting the FIA or otherwise; on 2 April, 2009, at a second hearing before the stewards of the Australian Grand Prix, (meeting in Malaysia) made no attempt to correct the untrue statement of 29 March but, on the contrary, continued to maintain that the statement was true, despite being allowed to listen to a recording of the team instructing Hamilton to let Trulli past and despite being given more than one opportunity to correct its false statement; on 2 April, 2009, at the second stewards' hearing, procured its driver Hamilton to continue to assert the truth of the false statement given to the stewards on 29 March, while knowing that what he was saying to the stewards was not true.