McLaren facing severe penalty over 'liegate'

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    McLaren facing severe penalty over 'liegate'

    Post by Mike on 9th April 2009, 12:43

    McLaren face massive penalty

    Dave Ryan and Lewis Hamilton were at the center of the scandal Source- The Guaridan

    As Formula One's newly-labelled 'lie-gate' scandal continues, Bernie Ecclestone has reminded onlookers of the seriousness of the situation facing the McLaren-Mercedes team. Although the F1 supremo is also confident in believing that the case began as no more than an innocent mistake which has lead to the possibility of severe consequences, with the team now facing the possibility of race bans or even expulsion from this year's World Championship.

    "We need to investigate closer into what went on," the Formula One Management (FOM) head said. "It is about stealing a point and a place, but those are worth money so basically it is fraud, although I am sure it started off more innocently and without thought of the consequences. There are many options open if the charge sticks, and it would be a terrible thing if any team were banned from races, but it could happen. It is not so long ago that McLaren were in front of the FIA World Council, and it is never good for anyone if you are back in court quickly for something similar."

    With the hearing for the diffuser teams set to take place in Paris next Tuesday, the FIA will also be holding an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday 29 April, with the case including the matter of a possible discrediting of the sport as a result of McLaren's actions.

    Ecclestone's mention of fraud refers to the fact that the team seemingly allowed Toyota to retain a penalty, despite knowing more information on the situation than revealed to the stewards. As Jarno Trulli went off the track under safety car conditions in Australia, he was passed by Hamilton. The team then instructed the World Champion to let the Toyota retake its position, which it subsequently did; after the race, Hamilton explained to reporters that the team had asked him to yield the position although, when being questioned by the stewards shortly after, both the driver and team denied this.

    With Hamilton and sporting director Dave Ryan giving the same version of events at a second enquiry in Malaysia, the former then made a public apology for his actions, as he admitted that he had simply followed the instructions of Ryan. With Trulli having been penalised by 25 seconds for the pass, the FIA lifted the penalty and disqualified McLaren immediately after recordings of the team's radio channel (from during the race) revealed clear instructions of the team asking their driver to yield the position.

    The case is made more serious by the fact that McLaren breached the same regulations in 2007, during the 'spy-gate' situation. On that occasion, the team - despite being allowed to continue racing - was thrown out of the constructors' championship as well as receiving a fine of $100m.

    Having now been dismissed, Ryan will not be obliged to join the hearing in Paris, although World Champion Hamilton will be attending. Apart from an overall expulsion, McLaren may risk being banned from races, such as B.A.R in 2005 after the team used fuel as ballast for their car. On that occasion, the team missed two races and McLaren could suffer the same fate, if not with greater effect. It is unlikely, however, that Hamilton could be reprimanded individually, as governing body the FIA has admitted that the focus of the investigation remains on the team itself, following the driver's apology in Malaysia.

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