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McLaren braced for FIA verdict 29 Apr 2009

Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Saturday, 25 April 2009

The FIA’s World Motor Sport Council (WMSC) will meet in Paris on Wednesday to decide what action to take against McLaren, after the team were found to have misled race stewards in Australia and Malaysia at the start of the season.

Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from the Australian Grand Prix after he and then McLaren sporting director, Dave Ryan, maintained that Hamilton had not deliberately let Toyota’s Jarno Trulli pass whilst under safety car late in the Melbourne race.

Hamilton and Ryan stuck to their story at a second inquiry into the matter at Sepang, despite the emergence of contradictory team radio transmissions. The FIA subsequently charged McLaren on five counts of bringing the sport into disrepute.

Ryan has since departed the team, while Hamilton issued a public apology and is not expected to face further censure from the FIA. For McLaren, however, possible penalties range from a reprimand or fine, through to a loss of points or suspension from the championship.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh could face the WMSC alone, having already written to the FIA to explain and apologise for the team’s conduct over the incident.

Wednesday’s WMSC agenda is also expected to include further discussion of the FIA’s proposed budget cap for 2010, which would give teams the option of more technical freedom in exchange for keeping costs within a pre-agreed figure.