Mike Stevens | Apr 8, 2009
Photo by dSLRartist

McLaren has been called to appear before an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council to respond to claims it has brought the sport into disrepute.

The hearing, which takes place in Paris on April 29, will see McLaren face charges it has breached Article 151c of the International Sporting Code on five accounts after the team “deliberately misled” a stewards hearing into a safety car incident in Melbourne.

f1_whitmarsh_hamilton

The most damning of the breaches in question though, relates to the subsequent stewards investigation prior to the the Malaysian Grand Prix.

The FIA press statement says: “On 2 April, 2009, at a second hearing before the stewards of the Australian Grand Prix (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.”

Kiwi Dave Ryan, the employee at the centre of the current farce, has since parted ways with the team, as McLaren moves into damage control, but is possible he won't be the only casualty of 'Stewards-gate'.

Current Team Principal, Martin Whitmarsh, admitted during the Malaysia weekend that his future at the helm of the team is far from certain. “I don’t rule anything in or out,” he said when asked whether he would resign.

“I think at the moment, what we are keen and earnest to do today is make sure that we put our hands up and say it was a serious error of judgement during that process and that we make sure that we come clean on that fact.”

McLaren's refusal to admit responsibility for the events of the past fortnight has caused outrage among the Formula One media fraternity, further enhancing claims the team is infested by a culture of cheating and dishonesty.

Only two years ago, it was fined $100 million and disqualified from the Constructors Championship after the team was found to be in possession of confidential Ferrari documentation.

Throughout that saga, team head Ron Dennis maintained he had no knowledge of the documents, allowing McLaren to initially escape harsher punishment.

However, the Woking-based outfit were later summoned to again appear before the FIA when an explosive series of emails between test driver Pedro de la Rosa and Fernando Alonso, revealed the extent of the team's deception.

“All the information from Ferrari is very reliable. It comes from Nigel Stepney, their former chief mechanic – I don’t know what post he holds now,” De la Rosa wrote to Alonso.

“He’s the same person who told us in Australia that Kimi was stopping in lap 18. He’s very friendly with Mike Coughlan, our Chief Designer, and he told him that.”

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