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McLaren gets suspended ban

29 Apr 2009
Lewis Hamilton

McLaren Formula 1 team given suspended ban for misleading race stewards

McLaren has escaped an immediate ban as the FIA punished the Formula 1 team for misleading stewards.

Instead, the Woking-based team (headed this year by Martin Whitmarsh) has received a three-race suspended ban, ready to be imposed if further facts about the case emerge or if McLaren breaches the International Sporting Code again in the next 12 months.

The incident occurred at the end of the Australian GP, when McLaren accused Toyota’s Jarno Trulli of overtaking Lewis Hamilton while the safety car was deployed. As a result, Trulli was given a 25 second penalty, promoting Hamilton to third place and a podium finish.

It later emerged that the team had made radio contact to Hamilton, instructing him to let Trulli pass. Hamilton was disqualified for lying to race stewards, and made an emotional public apology. There was even talk of him quitting the sport. He faces no further punishment from the FIA and is free to race in the Spanish GP on May 10.

Here is the FIA’s statement – ‘Having regard to the open and honest way in which McLaren Team Principal, Mr Martin Whitmarsh, addressed the WMSC (FIA World Motor Sports Council) 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.’

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