• Apr 29, 2009
2009 Australian Grand Prix - Click above for a high-res gallery

The FIA World Motor Sport Counsel has issued, and then retracted, a three-race on ban on McLaren after an investigation discovered the F1 team mislead race stewards at the Australian Grand Prix.

The episode that led to the probe involved McLaren accusing Toyota's Jarno Trulli of overtaking Lewis Hamilton while the safety car was out, resulting in a 25-second penalty for Trulli and catapulting Hamilton to a third-place finish. Later, it was discovered that Hamilton had been in radio contact with his team, telling him to let Trulli pass. Hamilton was subsequently disqualified for lying to officials and soon thereafter made a public apology amidst rumors that the young champion would quit the sport. That didn't happen, and with the three-race ban retracted – unless additional evidence surfaces or another breach of the sporting code takes place in the next twelve months – McLaren and Hamilton are ready to race on May 10 at the Spanish GP.

According to the FIA, the council felt McLaren's handling of the situation, including the team's principal, Martin Whitmarsh, was "open and honest." You can find that gem, along with the rest of the FIA's statement in the brief release below the fold.



[Source: Formula1]

PRESS RELEASE

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.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 16 Comments
      • 5 Years Ago
      Council is misspelled in the first sentence.

      As for McLaren, they've lost me as a fan as a result of the Alonso situation, "Spygate", and now this.
        • 5 Years Ago
        I do believe that "Counsel", in this instance, is correct.
      • 5 Years Ago
      Fair decision. Besides, I think the main reason why they decided to let Trulli pass had something to do with Lewis's incident with Kimi a season ago when Lewis "failed" to let Kimi pass before overtaking him again.
      • 5 Years Ago
      basically, McLaren managed to outright lie to the race stewards and get away with it by apologizing. This with their spy-story precedent as well.
      This will (not) be an entertaining if other teams decide to exploit this as a precedent.
        • 5 Years Ago
        witch hunt.

        to add to Franz comments, as if it needs adding to at all, Ferrari has outright admitted to cheating in the past to dispute the diffuser issue.

        not to mention:
        the BMW fuel temp issue in brazil 2007 by BMW - no discipline
        Renault in possession of the same spy-gate documents in 2007 - no discipline
        the many many infractions by Ferrari in 2008 - no discipline
        etc.
        • 5 Years Ago
        Franz: In total agreement with you.
        Mr. Hamilton needs to look for employment elsewhere. I see other drivers committing life threatening and much more serious offenses with minimal or no penalties. The reality is, for some "reason" Mr. Lewis you are not really welcome here.

        BigFord: Have to disagree with you on the Alonso situation. Fernando behaved like a big baby. You're right on the other Spygate account.

        This incident would not have warranted any FIA intervention if the name was not Hamilton.
        • 5 Years Ago
        not as serious?
        In the spy-scandal they were found guilty of illegally obtaining Ferrari's construction secrets, which would have compromised Ferrari's entire season.

        In Australia WE HEARD THEM lie to the stewards to get Trulli disqualified, which would have compromised HIS entire season.
        I shouldn't have to remind you how many points decided the last few world championships.

        The point is, twice in three years McLaren has been caught flat-out cheating at their adversaries' expenses. That's twice more than all the other teams put together.
        Licking all the shoes in the World Motor Sport Council clean should NOT be enough to get them out of trouble by now.
        • 5 Years Ago
        McLaren already got penalized. They were excluded from the results of the Australian GP. The whole incident happened because they were seeking clarification on the legality of a pass from the stewards, and they failed to deliver. Sure it was bad judgment on the part of Dave Ryan and company, but ultimately it was the FIA's own incompetence that lead to the incident in the first place. And it would be nice if everyone quit acting like McLaren are the only team to ever run afoul of the rule book. Here are a couple of Michael Schumacher & Ferrari's transgressions:

        1: 1994 Australian GP: Schumi took both his Benetton & Hill's Williams out on lap 36 ensuring he'd win the championship.

        2: He tried the same thing with Villenueve in '97 @ Jerez, but only managed to take himself out. This time, the replays clearly showed him turning into the side of the Williams. He was disqualified, but no subsequent ahuling before the WMSC.

        3: 1998 @ Silverstone. Schumi and Ferrari sneakily tried to pass Alex Wurz under the safety car, got a 10 second stop & go penalty and waited until the last lap of the race to serve it... winning the race driving down pit road. Turns out the Stewards made a mess of notifying them of the penalty (and subsequently got booted) but it was a gamble by Ferrari, that resulted from them cheating in the first place.

        4: 2006 @ Monaco. I'm pretty sure any recent F1 fan will remember Schumi parking his Ferrari at Rascasse during qualifying, ruining Alonso's run. he claimed he lost it, telemetry showed no problems, and replays showed him doing some pathetic counter steering... while traveling at about 20km/h. He was penalized, but again, didn't get hauled before the WMSC a la McLaren.

        And although not illegal, there was also the deliberate manipulation of race results in the 2002 US & Austrian GPs. It was those fiascos that ultimately lead to the abolition of team orders.
      • 5 Years Ago
      its just weird to me with all the drama in F1 in the first 4 races (diffusers, this whole mclaren scandal liar stuff) and yet I've noticed through all the talk...nothin has changed.. the diffusers are still fine and lewis is free to go about. (I am a big Hamilton fan so no I'm not bashing him here)
      but it just feels like to me all this junk is staged to create drama for the viewers while it makes no impact on race itself if you understand what im saying.

      with that said... Go Lewis! you can't put this guy on the chopping block in reality im sure all teams stretch the truth on a regular basis..they just got caught
      • 5 Years Ago
      Go Hamilton!! Note on Picture #14, Raiikonen has his eyes closed.... That's just awesome!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Where's my comment I posted?
      • 5 Years Ago
      Who cares about McLaren ... from 4 races so far this year, Toyota has shown huge improvement with 3 podiums ( all 3rds ) which is great to see.

      Lets see if they can keep up the good work as they do in the NASCAR series !!
      • 5 Years Ago
      Good decision if you ask me. Why the race stewards couldn't resolve this mid-race is beyond me. The teams should be given clarification on the spot (teams radio in to stewards, who tell them to let Hamilton pass Trulli immediately, etc.). This thing would have never happened in the first place if the race stewards gave instant clarification.
        • 5 Years Ago
        'This thing would have never happened in the first place if the race stewards gave instant clarification."

        Yup. Soap Operas like these continue to turn me off to the sport, regardless of how awesome their drivers are.
      • 5 Years Ago
      witch hunt.

      to add to Franz comments, as if it needs adding to at all, Ferrari has outright admitted to cheating in the past to dispute the diffuser issue.

      not to mention:
      the BMW fuel temp issue in brazil 2007 by BMW - no discipline
      Renault in possession of the same spy-gate documents in 2007 - no discipline
      the many many infractions by Ferrari in 2008 - no discipline
      etc.
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