8 Apr 2009

McLaren to face another hearing

5:52 am on 8 April 2009

McLaren risk heavy sanctions, including the possibility of being excluded from the Formula One championship, after being summoned to face charges of lying to stewards at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

The FIA said in a statement that it had charged the team of world champion Lewis Hamilton with breaching the international sporting code on five counts.

An extraordinary meeting of the FIA's world motor sport council will be held in Paris on April 29th, the Wednesday after the fourth round of the championship in Bahrain.

It will be McLaren's third appearance before the council in two years, with the team fined a record 150 million dollars and stripped of all their constructors' points in 2007 for a spying controversy involving Ferrari data in their possession.

The Mercedes-powered team were also charged with breaches of the same article 151c of the international sporting code on that occasion.

If the charges are upheld and the most extreme sanctions are applied, McLaren could be kicked out of the championship although a fine or points deduction is more likely.

The governing body has not pressed charges against Hamilton and has already made clear that it considers the 24-year-old Briton was put in an impossible position.

Hamilton told a news conference at the Malaysian Grand Prix last week that he was 'misled' by McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan, who told him to withhold information from stewards after last month's season-opening race in Melbourne.

McLaren suspended Ryan and said yesterday they had now parted company with the New Zealander, who has worked for the team for 35 years and latterly occupied a key role.

The furore stems from an incident during the second safety car period of the race in Melbourne, when Hamilton let Toyota's Jarno Trulli pass him.