The verdict is out – McLaren has been given a suspended three-race ban for lying to stewards at the Australian and Malaysian Grands Prix.
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.
On one hand I am glad that we can now go on racing with no cars missing from the grid. The penalty itself however is sort of no penalty penalty. The team got penalized but nothing really happens.
So is the penalty lenient ? Probably yes but possibly this was the only sensible way how to close this unfortunate matter. I am sure that the econo mical impact of any harsher punishment at these times played important role …
And the now fully FIA compliant McLaren team is the cherry on the pie for Max Mosley :
“In the end there were decisions taken by the people who are no longer involved. That being the case, it would have been unfair to go on with the matter.
“We think it’s entirely fair. They’ve demonstrated there’s a complete culture change and under those circumstances it’s better to put the whole thing behind us.“
Ron Dennis’ departure surely had nothing to do with this case …