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GP Week : Issue 41
> F1NEWS> n called before World Council Dave Ryan is gone, but will it be enough to keep the WMSC off troubled team’s back? MCLAREN has been called to appear before the FIA World Motor Sport Council for the second time in two years, to answer charges that it has breached Article 151c of the International Sporting Code and brought the sport into disrepute. The team has been called to answer allegations that it broke the Article, which states that an individual or team may be found to be in breach of the FIA’s own regulations for “any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally,”on five different counts. McLaren began the last week by dismissing former Sporting Director Dave Ryan, who had been suspended over the weekend of the Malaysian Grand Prix for his role in the post-Australian Grand Prix hearing that saw Ryan and Lewis Hamilton lie to race stewards. Later on in the week, it was confirmed by FIA Race Director Charlie Whiting that Hamilton and Ryan had continued to lie when the stewards’meeting was reconvened in Malaysia, until recordings of team radio transmissions left the duo with no option other than to admit that they had been economical with the truth. With McLaren letting Ryan go, it could fall to Hamilton to testify alone at the hearing, as team principal Martin Whitmarsh has continually stated that the decision to withhold the truth from the stewards had been a decision taken by Ryan himself and transmitted to Hamilton without the knowledge of anyone at the team. There is a growing feeling that the ultimate call to withhold the information from the stewards had come from Ron Dennis, the ultimate source of power and influence at McLaren. It is rumoured that Dennis’alleged involvement in the affair is what has led to the souring of relations between him, Hamilton and his management. The World Motor Sport Council will meet on April 29th to discuss McLaren’s guilt in the affair and potential punishment. With no limit to the penalty it can extend to the team, McLaren will be only too aware of the last time it went before the Council in 2007, charged again with a breach of Article 151c amidst the spying scandal that rocked F1. In 2007 the WMSC found McLaren guilty of a breach. With the decision appealed, the International Court of Appeal decided to award McLaren a record US $100 million fine and strip it of its 2007 world championship points. A similar penalty would not be unthinkable in 2009, particularly as this is the second time McLaren has been called to appear before them on similar charges, but the WMSC may wish to make a more immediate and potentially damaging punishment by excluding McLaren from races in the 2009 season. Current thoughts rest at between a three and five race exclusion, which would see McLaren miss the opening races of the European season and could include Monaco and one or both of the team’s home races in Britain and Germany.