Paris – Formula One team McLaren-Mercedes will have to could face further sanctions over the incident in Melbourne in which Toyota driver Jarno Trulli was first penalized for overtaking McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton.
The sports governing body FIA said Tuesday that McLaren would have to appear before an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on April 29.
Trulli, who finished third, was penalized 25 seconds for overtaking in a safety car phase and Hamilton, who placed fourth, was bumped up to third as a result.
A later investigation by race stewards found that McLaren and Hamilton had deliberately given wrong information at the first and subsequent hearing. They then reinstated Trulli as third place finisher and disqualified Hamilton.
But McLaren could face further sanctions after FIA announced Tuesday that the team would have to answer charges that they were in breach of article 151c of the International Sporting Code.
This article states that any team is in breach if they have engaged in: “Any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally.”
In a statement FIA said that McLaren 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.
McLaren is said to have then told Hamilton 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, (McLaren) 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) (McLaren) 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.”
FIA said that the team continued to tell Hamilton to be untruthful about the incident even though he knew that what he was saying to the stewards was not true.
McLaren had earlier on Tuesday parted ways with sporting director Dave Ryan, who is said to have been behind Hamilton’s and the team’s attempts to mislead the race stewards.
The team also said that they would co-operate fully with FIA to clear the matter up.
In 2007 McLaren were fined 100 million US dollars and stripped of all their points in the constructors’ championships. (dpa)