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Suspended three race ban for McLaren 29 Apr 2009

Lewis Hamilton (GBR) McLaren MP4/24.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 4, Bahrain Grand Prix, Qualifying Day, Bahrain International Circuit, Sakhir, Bahrain, Saturday, 25 April 2009 Martin Whitmarsh (GBR) McLaren Chief Executive Officer.
Formula One World Championship, Rd 3, Chinese Grand Prix, Practice Day, Shanghai, China, Friday, 17 April 2009

The FIA’s World Motor Sport Council has handed McLaren a three race ban for bringing the sport into disrepute after they were found to have misled race stewards at March’s Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne.

The ban will be suspended, however, in light of the ‘open and honest way’ in which team principal Martin Whitmarsh addressed the Council on Wednesday, and will only be applied if further evidence emerges, or there is another breach of the International Sporting Code.

Accepting the decision, Whitmarsh commented: "I would like to thank the FIA World Motor Sport Council members for affording me the opportunity to answer their questions this morning. We are aware that we made serious mistakes in Australia and Malaysia, and I was therefore very glad to be able to apologise for those mistakes once again.

“I was also pleased to be able to assure the FIA World Motor Sport Council members that we had taken appropriate action with a view to ensuring that such mistakes do not occur again."

The full statement from the FIA:
At an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council held in Paris on 29 April 2009, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes admitted five charges of breaching article 151c of the International Sporting Code relating to events at the Australian and Malaysian Grands Prix.

The following decision was taken:

“Having regard to the open and honest way in which McLaren Team Principal, Mr Martin Whitmarsh, addressed the WMSC and the change in culture which he made clear has taken place in his organisation, the WMSC decided to suspend the application of the penalty it deems appropriate.

“That penalty is a suspension of the team from three races of the FIA Formula One World Championship. This will only be applied if further facts emerge regarding the case or if, in the next 12 months, there is a further breach by the team of article 151c of the International Sporting Code.”

The full reasons for this decision will be issued shortly.