The McLaren case – What will happen this time ? – Update: McLaren summoned by FIA’s WMSC


With the F1 racing taking a short break before the Chinese Grand Prix the attention will for a while turn to FIA, diffusers and McLaren. Although with FIA we can never tell and they may come up with a surprise not too many people expect the diffusers used by Brawn, Toyota and Williams to be ruled illegal. The situation where the outcome is less clear is what will FIA do with McLaren (yet again).

Max Mosley did not rule out the possibility of McLaren being brought before the World Motor Sport Council to explain what was going on in Australia (and then in Malaysia). An FIA spokesman later said to Reuters:

“We recognise Lewis’s efforts to set the record straight today. It would appear that he was put in an impossible position. We are now awaiting reports from the FIA observer and stewards before consideration can be given to further investigation of his team’s conduct.”

That may be coming out quite well for Lewis Hamilton but it also sounds rather dangerous for McLaren.


McLaren has been summoned to appear before the FIA’s World Motor Sport Council on April 29 to answer charges that it has brought Formula 1 into disrepute over the controversy surrounding Lewis Hamilton’s Australian Grand Prix disqualification.

The FIA announced on Tuesday that the team will appear before the extraordinary WMSC hearing in Paris on the Wednesday after the Bahrain GP to answer charges that it has breached Article 151c of the International Sporting Code (“Any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally.”)

The FIA states that McLaren may have broken the regulations on five counts, that:

* on 29 March, 2009, told the stewards of the Australian Grand Prix that no instructions were given to Hamilton in Car No. 1 to allow Trulli in Car no. 9 to pass when both cars were behind the safety car, knowing this statement to be untrue;

* procured its driver Hamilton the current World Champion, to support and confirm this untrue statement to the stewards;

* although knowing that as a direct result of its untrue statement to the stewards, another driver and a rival team had been unfairly penalised, made no attempt to rectify the situation either by contacting the FIA or otherwise;

* on 2 April, 2009, at a second hearing before the stewards of the Australian Grand Prix, (meeting in Malaysia) made no attempt to correct the untrue statement of 29 March but, on the contrary, continued to maintain that the statement was true, despite being allowed to listen to a recording of the team instructing Hamilton to let Trulli past and despite being given more than one opportunity to correct its false statement;

* on 2 April, 2009, at the second stewards’ hearing, procured its driver Hamilton to continue to assert the truth of the false statement given to the stewards on 29 March, while knowing that what he was saying to the stewards was not true.

So what can happen to McLaren ?

1) Nothing, that is always a possibility. FIA may decide that the penalty imposed on Lewis Hamilton and McLaren (exclusion from Australian GP) fits well the crime commited and that may be the end of it.

2) FIA may however come to conclusion that further punishment is necessary for the team or for the driver or for both. That may include fines, exclusion from races or from the championship.

Teams do get excluded from races from time to time but that usually happens after the race and for some technical infringements. Most recent case was Toyota’s exclusion from Australian GP qualifying. The issue of ambient and fuel temperatures in Brazil 2007 is another recent story (at the end with no guilty verdict, no guilty parties and no penalties).

More severe penalties are not that common. I can think of only three in last 25 years (please correct me if I am wrong):

- 1984 when Tyrrell was banned from the final three races of the season and was retroactively thrown out of the entire championship season. That case was a mix of rule bending and F1 politics at its best (without Tyrrell the remaining teams passed the vote to keep the 220-liter tanks for the next season, a move that Ken Tyrrell opposed).

– 2005 when Tyrrell’s new guise, BAR Honda drivers Jenson Button and Takuma Sato were disqualified from San Marino GP for running underweight car and using fuel as ballast. The BAR Honda team was also banned from the next two races of that season missing out also on Monaco GP. At that time Max Mosley pushed for the ban for the entire season.

– 2007, the still very fresh in memory spy gate. McLaren were handed the infamous 100 million fine and lost all their constructors points. At that case Max Mosley also wanted to kick the team out of the championship.

Even if the FIA decides not to take any further steps, the problems for the team may not be over. There are still clouds over future of the new team principal Martin Whitmarsh who played important part in the whole mess (by insisting that the team did not lie to stewards).

Then there are those not too happy Merdeces people who probably can live with temporary mid field presence of their team (especially when Mercedes engines are still winning the races with other team) but who may not be too keen on being associated with someone who deliberately lies (and gets caught).

And there is also their star driver who few months back was happy to spend his whole career with McLaren and who may not be that sure about that anymore

All this for 1 point gained (OK, 7 if taken as a relative gain on Trulli) …


16 Comments Post a Comment
  1. KotenokNo Gravatar says:

    Ahh, should they have been further penalized for many past events??? Well, that will be long to count…

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    • KotenokNo Gravatar says:

      I thought it a while, wouldn’t it be bulling the McLaren-Mercedes team already?

      They have received their penalty, and it was fair to the crime I think. It will be quite normal that the FIA keeps an eye on them, and that the race control will have an ear on their radio talks more than often and moves in track. But I think it’s going too far applying further punishment for a single event, which probably won’t be repeated, because it has been very embracing already and won’t be any good for this F1 team this season.
      If it’s applied maybe this acts as good advice letter to the whole grid but won’t, but they will be even regarded about losing a rival team, more than scared about being straight fined for breaking a technical or sporting rule.

      Yeah! They may not have apologized in the right way in the right moment, and keep on believing they’ve done everything fine so far. But who won’t do so towards media?

      Kotenoks last blog post..Kotenok updated their profile

  2. F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

    Interesting take or speculation on Hamilton’s future:

    Could Hamilton leave McLaren?

  3. Judging by the precedent set during the Spygate saga, I think it would be wise to draw a line under the whole affair and move on.

  4. bmwf1guyNo Gravatar says:

    I agree. Let it go and move on. Lewis Hamilton was given his penalty once and then the embarrassment of apologizing to the world. His rep which has already been tarnished by way of the team is enough.

    Any other penalty the team receives is also a penalty indirectly to him and in the end, he’s a driver who wants to win just like anyone else.

    As far as Lewis leaving McLaren, I wouldn’t blame him, not one bit.

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    • KotenokNo Gravatar says:

      He’s very talented, but where do you think he could go??? He doesn’t have good relationship with the entire, and several times other drivers showed their anger and don’t support his attitude. Where else could he fit?

      Kotenoks last blog post..Kotenok updated their profile

      • F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

        I have no idea where he would fit, I can’t really see where, but I am pretty sure that the moment he becomes available there will be several teams interested in his services

  5. F1WolfNo Gravatar says:

    Looks like some sort of further punishment is now in the air …

  6. Nic B 205No Gravatar says:

    I’m not a Macca fan, but I do get the feeling the FIA come down on them harder than other teams. Sometimes that’s good for a bit of a laugh.
    They lied, they got busted, they got excluded; move on.

  7. JRNo Gravatar says:

    Excellent post, F1W. Right on top of things.

    I’ll stayout of the controversy. I’m no fan of Hamilton, but McClaren is a decent team. I’ll chime in when I think there has been a miscarriage of justice.

    “Without rules , there’s chaos” – Kramer

  8. BazNo Gravatar says:

    …. but I do get the feeling the FIA come down on them harder than other teams…..

    Too true. Ask yourself this question: If it had been Ferrari who got themselves into this pickle, what would Max have done by way of punishment? Would it have been ongoing, like this is turning out to be, would it have ended by them being demoted back to fourth, or would it have resulted in disqualification from that one race’s results?

    The answer seems fairly obvious.
    Personally, I think Max should be fined $100 mill, just for staying in the job when he should have quit!!

  9. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    you have got to be kidding me! Bringing disrepute to F1…and Max’s mad Nazi dance with hookers is allowed!

    Lets face it, the controller influences for F1 hate McLaren. The penalties and decisions against McLaren are biased and unfair.

    And this is coming from a lifelong Ferrari fan who has rooted against McLaren every step of the way.

  10. zblkhwkNo Gravatar says:

    After reading more of the details and Hamilton’s latest admission and apologies, I have to say that McLaren deserves everything they receive. It appears they intentionally tried to deceive race authorities in an effort to gain points at the expense of Trulli.

    I can’t say whether the past penalties were fair or not…but this certainly adds credence to F1’s past treatment of them and the huge penalties they have levied.

    I still find the comment of McLaren bringing disrepute to F1 as hypocritical given the Mosely incident. Until Max is removed, no one can make any claims about anyone bringing disrepute to F1.

  11. senna fanNo Gravatar says:

    F1 is rife with teams trying to get the edge on there rivals. I don’t think there is a team out there today is guilty of this, sure its a bad thing but it’s always been that way.

    The FIA have now become above there station and think they are the God of Motor Racing and Mosley seems to have a personal hate on some teams…….Max get out.

    I think penalty’s should be given for the race in which it is committed and loose whatever is gained by foul play in that race and given 3 points on there License given 10 points per season graded to the offense, Ten and your out.

  12. senna fanNo Gravatar says:

    Sorry for bad grammar but the edit did not work LOL

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