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GP Week : Issue 40
>>F1OPINION The importance of being honest WE’D been here before, of course. McLaren, in trouble. The words ‘cheating,’ ‘liar,’and ‘dishonest’ thrown around the paddock and littering the pages of newspapers and websites the world over. It seemed like a condensed version of 2007 and the spy scandal all over again. How could it be possible for a team, which has had so many dealings with the FIA, the stewards the Court of Appeal and the World Motor Sport Council over the past two seasons to knowingly go into a post-race stewards investigation and lie through its teeth – knowing full well that in 2009 the FIA had promised to make public the workings of the stewards and their decision-making process? How did a group of intelligent people not realise they would get rumbled? McLaren now claims this whole affair had little to do with a group of intelligent people, and more to do with the whim of one man – Dave Ryan. The fact that the guy was sent home by the team for whom he has worked the majority of his adult life possibly gives us a true sense of the gravity of his error. McLaren’s mantra is that they are a team united – they win together and they lose together. So to eject a guy with that much history at the team should put to bed the stories that he was merely a scapegoat, ejected from the Will Buxton GPWeek Editor team in order to appease the FIA and buff the diminishing shine on Lewis Hamilton’s reputation. But can we really believe that Ryan acted on his own whim and told Hamilton to lie? That he was not briefed before he went to the meeting with the stewards? Has McLaren really forgotten so much about 2007 that it did not tell him, in advance of the meeting, to just be 100 percent straight for the good of the team and its position in the sport? Furthermore, can we genuinely believe that nobody at McLaren thought to ask Ryan and Hamilton how that meeting had gone once it had finished, and how the stewards had reached their original decision to penalise Trulli? How could a team as sensitive to the actions of the FIA, and as regimented as McLaren, not make sure that its case was watertight? Lewis is a good person. He is not the arrogant and big-headed individual which, sadly, is a view that has more to do with the shocking mis-management of his public profile than it does have any basis in the reality of someone who is a very down to earth guy. Having told the media his version of events immediately after the race, I cannot think why he would change his story when talking to the stewards, had he not been told to do so. When called back before the stewards in Malaysia, the FIA had new evidence at its disposal… evidence which blew the lid on this entire scandal and gravely tarnished the reputation of the reigning world champion. Ryan was sent home and Hamilton was put through a pantomime press conference, both of which were ill- conceived moves from a team trying desperately to salvage some face. There’s been talk, denied by the team, that Lewis wanted to walk away from the sport this week, so shattered have his dreams of Formula 1 now become. And who could blame him? In just a few years years he has gone from F3, to GP2 to Formula 1 World Champion. He should be universally popular, loving every minute of living a life he has dreamt of since he was a boy. He should be on cloud nine. And he would be. If only the people around him stopped making it so damned hard. 10 opinion