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GP Week : Issue 40
Is there more to come o THE FIA could take further action against McLaren after excluding the team from the Australian Grand Prix results. Lewis Hamilton and his team were excluded from the results of the race after it came to light that the world champion and McLaren Sporting Director Dave Ryan had both lied to the FIA Stewards. The FIA, in line with its new-for-2009 explanation of key decisions, issued a statement detailing the reasoning behind the exclusion. “During the hearing, the Stewards and the Race Director questioned Lewis Hamilton and his Team Manager David Ryan specifically about whether there had been an instruction given to Hamilton to allow Trulli to overtake. Both the driver and the Team Manager stated that no such instruction had been given,”the summary of the decision read. It went on to explain that, between the Australian and Malaysian Grands Prix it had come to light that not only had Hamilton told TV crews immediately after the race that the team had told him to let Trulli through, but that radio transcripts of the exchanges between Hamilton and the team in the closing laps of the race confirmed that the team had, indeed, told him to allow the Italian to pass. The transcript, and in particular the line, “Lewis, you need to let the Toyota through. Allow the Toyota through now,”were directly at odds with the evidence Hamilton and Ryan had given to the FIA, and as such both the driver and team were excluded from the race classification. Ryan was suspended from his role at McLaren immediately following the decision of the Stewards in Malaysia, and Lewis Hamilton was forced to make an embarrassing apology for his part in the affair. But with the threat of the FIA World Motor Sport Council taking the matter even further, there is still the possibility of McLaren receiving further sanctions. Disqualification from the championship or a loss of championship points have not been ruled out, nor too has new McLaren Team Principal Martin Whitmarsh’s resignation been discounted. Jarno Trulli was re-classified in the third place in which he had finished the Australian Grand Prix.