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McLaren Summoned To Extraordinary WMSC Meeting

McLaren Summoned To Extraordinary WMSC Meeting

Following the saga of the Australian and Malaysian Grands Prix, McLaren have been summoned by the FIA World Motor Sport Council to answer charges that they have brought the sport into disrepute. The charges come after it was realised that Lewis Hamilton and David Ryan failed to disclose all the information available to them at a stewards inquiry in Melbourne following the on-track passing/re-passing involving Hamilton and Jarno Trulli.

McLaren have stated that David Ryan, the team’s Sporting Director at the time, asked Hamilton not to mention the fact that the team had asked him to allow Trulli to repass after the Italian Toyota driver fell off the track momentarily. However, Trulli did make his way pass the McLaren and finished the race in third place. An initial investigation found Trulli to be in the wrong and the driver was handed a hefty penalty, although at the time, Jarno professed he had little choice but to repass because Hamilton had slowed significantly and moved away from the racing line.

Toyota started to appeal the steward’s decision, but given the controversial nature of the results anyway (due to the ongoing diffuser issue), Toyota backed down and withdrew their appeal. However, audio evidence from McLaren’s pit-to-driver radio later revealed that the team had been in contact with Lewis during the incident and had asked him to slow down and allow Trulli to pass. Since this information was not given to the stewards at the time Trulli has now been reinstated and Hamilton disqualified. However, there is a larger issue now that needs addressing and it is this that has caused the FIA to consider bringing further action against McLaren.

An extraordinary WMSC meeting has been scheduled for April 29th, 2009, where McLaren representatives will be required to attend in Paris at the FIA’s headquarters. The official charge is that McLaren have breached Article 151c of the International Sporting Code, which details how teams cannot partake in any “fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally”.

The FIA have charged McLaren with five counts of breaching Article 151c.

Vodafone McLaren Mercedes has been invited to appear before an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on Wednesday, 29 April, 2009, to answer charges that, in breach of Article 151c of the International Sporting Code, it

  • on 29 March, 2009, 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;
  • procured its driver Hamilton the current World Champion, 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, 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) 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;
  • on 2 April, 2009, at the second stewards’ hearing, procured its driver Hamilton to continue to assert the truth of the false statement given to the stewards on 29 March, while knowing that what he was saying to the stewards was not true. FIA Press Release.

On Friday 3rd April, while at the Malaysian Grand Prix, McLaren’s team principal Martin Whitmarsh suspended David Ryan, and since then the two parties have separated. McLaren made a statement earlier today that they had received the summons to the WMSC meeting at the end of the month and that David Ryan no longer works for any of the McLaren group of companies.

McLaren acknowledges receipt of an invitation to appear at an FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris on April 29, received this afternoon.

We undertake to co-operate fully with all WMSC processes, and welcome the opportunity to work with the FIA in the best interests of Formula 1.

This afternoon McLaren and its former sporting director, Dave Ryan, have formally parted company. As a result, he is no longer an employee of any of the constituent companies of the McLaren Group. McLaren Statement.

Also on Friday, Lewis Hamilton gathered the press in the media centre at Sepang and offered an apology to the FIA, his team and the fans. Hamilton professed he is not a liar and stated that he was following instructions from one member of the McLaren team.

It has since been discussed all over the Internet how this will impact McLaren’s and Hamilton’s reputations, and of course, the saga from 2007 has been raised once again. Back in ’07, McLaren banded together and held strong; a philosophy often taken by sporting teams of winning together, and losing together. However, the way McLaren have handled this particular incident is quite different, with the team singling out one person and immediately removing that person from the equation (the team). Perhaps it is the new team principal’s way of doing things, perhaps it was just seen as the better course of action to take.

Undoubtedly this will have a negative impact on the team, and although some will say (myself included) that McLaren pay Hamilton, therefore he should do what they say and it is also up to the team to be correct and truthful, this will also have a negative impact on Hamilton. After all, a lie is a lie. During his apology at Sepang, Lewis stated that he felt like quitting the sport over what had happened, which perhaps sounds a little drastic and melodramatic, does perhaps offer some redeeming value in his reputation. Unfortunately though, while I am absolutely certain this is not the first nor will be the last time a driver or team have lied to the FIA, the fact they have been so publicly caught and shamed by it will only damage the core trust placed in them by motor sporting bodies as well as McLaren’s rivals and supporters.

Possible sanctions that could be imposed on McLaren should they be found guilty of these charges range from complete disqualification from the 2009 World Championship (drivers and constructors) as well as monetary fines, to a mere slapping of the wrists and suspended sentences. It is my opinion though, given how strictly the FIA have dealt with cases like this in the past, that McLaren will be lucky if they are contesting both titles for the remainder of the season. While it is highly unlikely that Hamilton will be thrown out of the drivers – his appeal to fans is too great – the team could very easily be disqualified from the constructors battle, just as they were in 2007.

So what do you think? Should McLaren face further charges/penalties, or is it enough that Hamilton was disqualified from Australia and both driver and team shamed in the international media? How would you deal with this particular case?

Oliver White

36 comments

  • While it is laudable that LH apologized to the fans and their dog, he really should have apologized to Trulli and Toyota first.

    The fact that he didn’t speaks volumes in what was undoubtably a carefully crafted apology to the press.

  • It has a certain inevitability about it that they will be thrown out of the Constructor’s Championship doesn’t it?

    What is the most incredible thing in all this is that these two idiots stuck to their lies even when faced with the truth, ie after being played a tape of their own radio communications – do they have anything between their ears?!

    I actually feel a bit sorry for Hamilton in all this to be honest, but also wonder how it can be that he is likely to escape from all this by only losing his Australian GP points. To me, a liar is someone who doesn’t tell the truth – and as far as I can tell, Hamilton didn’t tell the truth.

    Hamilton’s own view, which now appears to be backed up by the FIA, is that a liar is the person who thinks up the untruth – anyone then coerced into going along with the lies isn’t actually a liar. Lewis stated in his press conference that he was not a liar and wasn’t dishonest, yet he also admits to being involved in all this nonsense.

    It would be a shame if the FIA decide not to punish Lewis Hamilton simply because he could “bring in the punters” and make them money, as appears to be McLaren’s view otherwise he would have been suspended along with Ryan.

    A point on 2007 – wasn’t McLaren’s structure not criticised in that instance as it allowed effectively one man to go about all this spying stuff without anyone else knowing? I seem to recall them saying they were a reformed team and that by restructuring that situation could never occur again. And yet here we are again with them using exactly the same excuse…

  • While it is laudable that LH apologized to the fans and their dog, he really should have apologized to Trulli and Toyota first.

    That is a very good point, thanks for raising it Mark.

    I will add though that while Hamilton’s apology glossed over the fact that Trulli and Toyota were involved, we don’t know that Lewis neglected to personally apologise to Trulli.

    All I can say is that it takes a fair amount of courage to apologise to the international media, but it takes a whole lot more to face someone you’ve wronged and apologise to their face. I hope, hope Hamilton paid the Toyota garage a visit over the Malaysian Grand Prix weekend and did the correct thing. But given the actions by the team and driver, I wouldn’t hold my breath.

  • It would be a shame if the FIA decide not to punish Lewis Hamilton simply because he could “bring in the punters” and make them money, as appears to be McLaren’s view otherwise he would have been suspended along with Ryan.

    This has crossed my mind as well since Ryan was suspended on Friday. Why wasn’t Hamilton suspended? Or on a more effective level, why wasn’t Hamilton suspended ‘pending investigation’ on Sunday evening after he had fulfilled his prior commitments that couldn’t really be subbed at the time?

    Hamilton is an employee of McLaren just as Ryan was. And it was the two of them in that room in Melbourne.

    Unfortunately though, Hamilton is harder to replace than Ryan. Hamilton makes McLaren a lot of money (certainly more than he gets from them). From a business perspective, McLaren have done the right thing; removed the main offender. But they appear to have done little about the other side of the problem that occurred in Australia.

    We don’t know that Hamilton hasn’t received the ticking off of his life, and I myself in my own job believe and practice praising in public, scolding in private. But business and moral duties do conflict here. Business-speaking, keep Hamilton and make him squeaky clean. Morally, well, he did speak the lie. He knew, as a grown adult, what he was doing.

    I’m trying to think what I would do in this situation, and trying to be as honest to myself as I could. I think I probably would have taken Ryan to the side before speaking to any FIA official and, in private to Ryan, said something like “in this meeting I will tell the truth. You, on behalf of the team can pick up the pieces should you so desire or feel compelled to do. You can go against what I say and deny my statement, but as soon as I return to the motor home, this is going on record. You’ve asked me to lie. And with the utmost respect following all of our years of working together, I am simply unwilling to do that.”

    By saying and doing all that, the ball is in Ryan’s court and Hamilton would have likely ended up being praised by the team. Of course, hindsight and not actually being there in the heat of the moment having just completed a tiring race, all help me to have a clear perspective of the matter. I’m not an athlete desperately trying to claim a couple of extra points because the car I’ve been given to drive is a pile of muck in comparison to previous models.

  • I don’t think it’s been explained exactly what happened between Hamilton and Ryan – hopefully this will come out at the FIA hearing.

    Just exactly what was said beforehand and how much was made up on the spot so to speak. Did Ryan say to Lewis on the way to the meeting that he would do the talking and Lewis was to simply back him up?

    Whitmarsh has given the impression that this is basically what happened – Ryan interrupted a question aimed at Hamilton and effectively answered it for him, and then when the question was asked again to Hamilton he repeated what Ryan had said.

    I don’t think anyone is doubting that Ryan appears to have been the main cuplrit, the leader of the two men, but that doesn’t absolve Lewis of all blame.

    It’s going to be interesting watching the comoing races to see how much they miss Ryan at the racetrack – perhaps he was every bit as vital as Lewis Hamilton, just not in such a public way.

  • I have lost a lot of respect for McLaren because of this. It frankly makes the vendetta that FIA seem to have out for them warranted. Maybe McLaren gets so much attention because they do so much wrong. It’s not persecution if the cops keeps arresting you for breaking and entering if you always are breaking and entering.

    For McLaren, I wouldn’t be surprised if the FIA bring down the hammer.

    In some ways I feel sorry for Lewis, for being told to lie by your boss is a terrible situation to be in. But ultimately, I was just doing what I was told doesn’t work. You have to do what is right, and in this case he didn’t do what was right. He’s young, though, so I am willing to forgive him his sins if he doesn’t do it again.

    I wonder about the future of Lewis and McLaren. I can’t see Lewis going anywhere now – there just aren’t enough open seats. But at the end of the year, would Hamilton stick around? I think I’d be looking for a new ride…

    All that being said, the most confusing thing for me is why did Trulli get back his places? Regardless of whether or not McLaren lied about telling Hamilton to let Trulli pass or not, if he was wrong to re-pass Lewis in the first place, what has changed? Maybe I just don’t understand the rules here (which wouldn’t be out of the question), but if Lewis passed Trulli legally (because Trulli had gone off the track), and Trulli passed Hamilton illegally (as found in the initial investigation and demoted him 12th place for overtaking while the safety car was deployed), shouldn’t McLaren’s lie mean Trulli moves up to 11th and Timo Glock moves into 4th. After all, regardless of the life, Trulli still broke the rules, no?

  • Greg – Trulli was only really punished due to the McLaren testimony. It was deemed an illegal overtake on Hamilton as Lewis claimed he did not slow down in order to let Trulli past, however it was later learned that that was exactly what he had done.

    Because he slowed and pulled off the racing line, Trulli assumed he was being let past and so had no real option other than to overtake.

    Because Hamilton allowed Trulli past him, there was nothing to penalise the Toyota driver with and so his penalty was revoked and his third place reinstated.

  • Seems I may be in the minority here, but I think this is nothing by Spygate Part II. I had the strangest feeling of deja vu, when reading the article. Bringing sport into disrepute? Check ! McLaren summoned to WMSC hearing? Check !

    Are you seriously telling me no one has ever lied to the stewards before? Think Schumacher told the truth at the ‘Racassegate’ hearing? Or the Adelaide 97 hearing? Bollocks ! This is nothing but a trumped up affair to penalised McLaren. Again.

    While I agree what Hamilton, Ryan & McLaren did was certainly stupid – especially for giving the maFIA any ammunition – I really do not think it warrants all this fuss. The core of the matter should still be the fact that the Stewards ****ed up the original decision through nothing but sheer incompetence, and have been made to look like absolute morons as a result. Now they are trying to deflect the heat onto McLaren, and sadly it seems to be working.

    Just because someone shouts the loudest, doesn’t mean they have won the argument.

  • I am amazed at how many people are prepared to buy into the spin that this is about the worst thing that has ever been done in F1. It hardly compares to a lot of stuff that has gone before including Charlie Whiting’s blatant lie to the ICA to to try and land McLaren in trouble but none of the media made anything of that.

    Imagine the roles had been reversed in this. The press would be full of stories about how McLaren were caught cheating in qualifying by using illegal wings and how Hamilton was reckless by losing control of the car while under yellows.

    One point I would like to make to all the people who keep dredging up the spying. Why did Mike Coughlin have Ferrari data in the first place? Because he and Nigel Stepney were planning a joint approach to Honda and Nick Fry has admitted meeting them. Given that he was planning on leaving the team and working with Stepney to build Honda is it remotely conceivable that he set out to make his job at Honda harder by feeding a load of Ferrari information to McLaren? I am sure the odd bit got through but it was minimal. Charlie Whiting spent two weeks mob handed in Woking and found nothing. Not a piece of Ferrari paper and not a single Ferrari computer file.

    Nigel Stepney is on record saying he had McLaren data and some of that was fed into Ferrari but Max decided not to investigate that.

    When the Renault story broke Whiting went to Enstone alone for a day and a bit and turned up all sorts of evidence including 28 back up copies of numerous McLaren files each with thousands of hits.

    I have lost a lot of respect for McLaren because of this. It frankly makes the vendetta that FIA seem to have out for them warranted. Maybe McLaren gets so much attention because they do so much wrong.

    It wasn’t McLaren as a corporate whole that lied. It was two men who are members of their team who did. These two people do not reflect the whole team

    The idea that McLaren do so much wrong is just nonsense. As is the idea that FIA punishments relate in any way to guilt. Read the transcripts of the McLaren and Renault spy cases and it is quite clear that there is infinitely more evidence against Renault than McLaren. Toyota had two of their engineers jailed in German for taking data from their previous employment at Ferrari. The FIA did not even investigate that case when there was enough evidence for a proper court to jail people and that was only a few years after the same Cologne based Toyota team with the same management had been banned from the World Rally Championship for a rather inventive device to by pass the mandatory air restrictor had been found on their cars.

    This is a minor incident and like anything else McLaren do it has been massively blown out of proportion. It may come as a surprise to some but lying and cheating have always been common place in F1.

    Does anyone know how Max managed to get elected as FIA president in the first place? Because Max told Jean-Marie Balestre that he had made sure that he had enough votes to win while secretly running Max’s campaign.

    Did anyone believe Max after his little hobby was exposed when he said that if he won the vote of confidence he would not stand for re-election again? Of course not everyone knew he was lying and everyone knew he would stand again.

    Does anyone remember the reason he gave why it was essential that he won the vote of confidence? Because he was the only person capable of re-negotiating the commercial rights agreement. Has the commercial rights agreement been re-negotiated? No of course not he had no intention of ever doing it. Did he believe he was the only person capable of doing it? Nope that was a lie too. When it was originally negotiated he disqualified himself from being involved on the grounds of conflict of interest.

    So Max got his position as a result of lies. He kept it as a result of lies and he will continue keeping it as a result of lies. Bear in mind this is the man who originally said that it was right that the FIA president was limited to two terms in office. As soon as his two were coming to an end that rule like so many others was disposed of and now he is preparing for his fifth term. Remember his court case about how the exposure affected his family life and particularly his wife? Odd that. Especially since he and his wife have lived in different countries for a few decades. It was a lie to build his case.

    Like with the spying nonsense this is a non-event and something that has been going on for years but because Max doesn’t like Ron it has been blown up out of proportion to allow him to use the indignation generated as a result to put the boot in again.

  • Just when we’re looking forward to a great season of racing, a new scandal hits the sport. Great….

    I see this incident as involving just a few people at McLaren- it seems to be a much smaller deal than the 2007 affair. However, that dosen’t mean that Max and company will take it easy on McLaren. While I don’t think they will be excluded from the WCC, they may be hit with some other form of penalty.

    The way I see it, McLaren have lost their points from that event. That should be the end of it, but I highly doubt that will be the case.

    Greg- Indeed there are few seats open at the moment, but don’t think for a second that any of the other top teams won’t open one in a heartbeat for a chance to grab Lewis……

  • GMAN – The way I see it, McLaren have lost their points from that event. That should be the end of it, but I highly doubt that will be the case.

    Too right!! I’m sorry but I find this scandal is a bit lame, as is the furor about it all.

    The FIA stewards were there to make sure that the rules were adhered to, someone(s) told porkies and got caught. The stewards saw through them and the guy got fired and points were deducted from the team and the driver involved.

    What more do people want? On a $30 million budget how can they fine them anything? Points have already been taken and Davey is fired with his reputation in tatters.

  • I must agree that this really is a tempest in a teapot. McLaren lied. So? It’s certainly not an unusual thing in F1. Remember Michael and Monaco? They lost points and their reputation has been seriously muddied. I think that’s the appropriate punishment.

  • Can anyone else see my comment, or is it just me?

    It’s been in moderation for 7 hours now….

    Sorry Pink. I went to bed at midnight, you commented at almost 1am (local time to me), and since then I’ve been busy at work. It’s up now though. 🙂

  • Yes they lied, not good, but what i find worse is the procedure the stewards used to dish out the original penalty. It sounds to me like they simply asked the drivers for their side of the story, then made a decision based on that. In how many other sports would you see something similar? Can you imagine if in, say, football the referee consulted the players before deciding if there was a foul?

    If anything, it should be Toyota inviting the FIA to an extraordinary meeting to explain their incompetence… As they say, fool FIA once, shame on McLaren, fool FIA when they had easy access to contrary evidence, shame on FIA.

  • Just because someone shouts the loudest, doesn’t mean they have won the argument.

    … unless you’re the FIA!

    What good is this going to do the FIA, McLaren, Hamilton or anyone else?

  • Hi guys !

    I am not prepared to start an argument with anybody here but for the record I want to let you know that another point of view does exist and is not coming from FIA fans.

    – A double lie at 5 days interval

    – a Team Principal being on holiday in Indonesia between monday and thursday’s late afternoon,

    – two people knowing they are responsible for a fine driver being punished for something he didn’t do

    These facts speak for themselves. Switch some of the names and I am pretty sure reactions would be very very different.

    Read this week’s Autosport (paper) they have a few pages about this controversy, read Jonathan Noble, Gary Anderson, and Mark Hughes on this matter and ask yourselves if these much respected columnists can be that wrong.

    Now if you are really convinced a double lie and an unfair penalty to J Trulli are “business as usual” that’s fine by me… I have a strong sense of humour, and plenty of things to do during this long week-end.

    Happy Easter to you all!

  • What, you mean you take time out to sleep Ollie?

    Only every other night though! 😉

    Now if you are really convinced a double lie and an unfair penalty to J Trulli are “business as usual” that’s fine by me…

    Most certainly not. Not in my mind, anyway.

    It seems, from what I’ve read of the sport’s fans viewpoint on all this (but not Autosport Magazine), is that people generally feel McLaren (Hamilton, Ryan and possibly other employees) did wrong, more than once. And that the FIA Stewards also did wrong in their initial investigation in Melbourne. Or at minimum, the stewards weren’t thorough enough.

    a Team Principal being on holiday in Indonesia between monday and thursday’s late afternoon

    Are you speaking of Whitmarsh? I didn’t realise he took a holiday, but to be fair, many Formula One people did take time out between the races. This is primarily because it isn’t worth coming all the way back to Europe only to turn around and head straight back out to Asia without even having the time to buy and drink a cup of tea at Heathrow!

    Happy Easter to you all!

    Happy Easter, Ago.

  • It wasn’t McLaren as a corporate whole that lied. It was two men who are members of their team who did. These two people do not reflect the whole team

    This is actually an interesting point, and I have to say that I disagree with it.

    Firstly, there are murmurings that what Ryan and Hamilton spoke of in the initial meeting (or rather, what they didn’t speak of) was an already decided game-plan put together by senior members of McLaren. It isn’t known if this is the case, so it is entirely speculative, but in an interview between Whitmarsh and the BBC, the language Whitmarsh used was interesting. James Allen has a post up about it at the moment which was brought to his attention by vee8 blogger, Duncan.

    http://allenonf1.wordpress.com/2009/04/10/fresh-insight-into-mclaren-case/

    Despite all that, because it is speculative, I still disagree with Steven’s statement. Hamilton and Ryan both work for McLaren, and when they speak to the media and other companies/organisations, they are essentially ambassadors to McLaren. What they say will reflect on them and and their employers.

    Many bloggers have a statement on their sites that reads something like “opinions expressed in this personal site are not that of my employer.” ie. It’s a disclaimer should the blogger ever let something slip about their employer that they don’t necessarily agree with. In the real world though, away from the Internet, this is obviously a little different. Hamilton was in McLaren uniform, as was Ryan. What they choose to say or not say directly affects the company they work for.

    I think I get the point of Steven’s comment, that one person shouldn’t be or isn’t representative of a whole company. But while one person doesn’t make a company, one person can bring a company to its knees.

  • Dear Ollie this is a (your!) blog and I understand it doesn’t reflect your own opinions else you would have removed some of my comments before 🙂

    Everybody -I think- agrees on the fact that this story emerged out of nothing.

    Nobody did anything wrong in the first place, on the track I mean. I personaly believe -and I am not the only one- that Lewis should have finished 3rd -because he didn’t overtake at all- and Jarno 4th because he lost control of his car and came back on the track in 4th position.

    That said, I am very much annoyed by what happened after. Lying in the first meeting with the stewards I can understand, not approve, but understand. Lying during the second meeting with evidences displayed to Lewis and Dave BEFORE they were asked to reformulate their statements makes me sick.

    http://www.autosport.com/news/report.php/id/74368

    There is nothing wrong with people taking a well deserved break after a GP and I am not challenging that. I only wanted to point out that obviously McL management didn’t take that “incident” too seriously as an accountable manager won’t take a break when his team is in the middle of a turmoil…

    Gary Anderson (Autosport this thursday p.13) states that decisions were made at a much higher level of mgmt than Dave’s.

    Mark Hughes (p.17) states that this team is paranoid and always wants to appear “whiter than white” and gives an example of that with Canada 05 where McLaren denied to have switched they drivers pit stop when under SC in order to help Kimi -something nobody will have objected to, taken into account their respective positions in the championship- and said they had a “radio problem” instead.

    Why would somebody lie when there is nothing to hide? Why would somebody lie again when given a second chance to speak the truth?

    As my friend William S wrote (more or less) “something is rotten in the state of Den… Mc Laren”

  • I like Pink’s point that the stewards played a huge part in this thing betting blown waaaaay out of proportion. They know (or should know) all transmissions between the drivers and the teams are recorded. For all of F1’s boast about being technologically advanced and precision-driven, they act the fool. Surely, they – and Charlie! – could’ve EASILY pulled the radio transmissions as well as all the other digitally recorded evidence available at their fingertips quickly after the race if they were really competent (or were fair-minded…a highly debateable point). The matter could’ve been settle with much less noise and mudthrowing.

    Taking a step back, however, I want to point out the difficult situation that Lewis was placed under. Studies upon studies and a large body of research have shown that “I was just following orders” actually is a very real reason for people doing things that fly in the face of their morals and values. When someone in the position of authority orders you to do something, there are physiological and psychological responses that take place inside our bodies that makes it very difficult for you to say “no”. The Nazis all said “I was just following orders”. As farcical as this may sound, for a large number of them, that – for better or worse – was true. I’m not saying Lewis’s – and, of course, the Nazi’s – actions were right. Lying is lying, crime is a crime, and genocide is genocide. All I’m saying is no one who was not directly placed in those particular set of circumstances really has the right to raise hell (I’m looking at you, mainstream media). Hopefully, for Lewis, this will be a valuable lesson learned and that he in the future won’t just “follow orders”.

  • I said I’ll be quiet but…

    Everybody no matter their background or personal experience has every right to challenge anybody in any situation. Hopefully we call this a democraty.

    Lewis has already displayed his natural abilies to disobey orders, would you like a couple of examples or is this statement enough to refresh your memories Explosiva? Not to mention the fact that stewards ARE “the authority” on a GP wwek end…

  • To return to the original questions: Does Lewis and/or McLaren deserve to be further penalized? If so, why? My feelings are that both have been fairly punished. Adding additional punishments would be unfair and uncalled for.

  • Everybody no matter their background or personal experience has every right to challenge anybody in any situation. Hopefully we call this a democraty.

    No doubt everyone has the “right” to challenge anyone. The problem I was referring to is that few people do it, at least in the heat of the moment. Yes, people often talk about how Lewis approached Ron Dennis as a kid expressing his determination to drive for McLaren one day. However, McLaren is also, to a large degree, Lewis’s surrogate parent. The organization (professionally) raised him, nurtured him, and can be given a big chunk of credit for his success. The world of McLaren is what he knows. Just think about what could’ve been going on in his mind, trying to decide between loyalty and doing what’s right. No one can claim that it is an easy decision. And as with any long-term relationship, I’m sure there are things about each other that Lewis and McLaren don’t like…things which are magnified greatly in a pressure cooker that is F1.

    And if you, Ago, are referring to the Hungarian GP ’07, then, yeah, I remember. But also remember what happened? The very public row Ron had with Lewis? The controversy with Alonso? The firestorm surrounding the situation? Nothing happens in a vacuum, and I wouldn’t be surprised if that particular incident was well in the front of Lewis’s mind as he had to decide whether to obey the team order or stand up to them. I’m sure he was really burned by what happened. I’m sure it was like being scolded and whipped by your parent for doing what you believed is right.

  • Nobody did anything wrong in the first place, on the track I mean. I personaly believe -and I am not the only one- that Lewis should have finished 3rd -because he didn’t overtake at all- and Jarno 4th because he lost control of his car and came back on the track in 4th position.

    I now see where you are coming from. Yeah, that does make sense to me as well. On track, everything was fine as fair as I could tell. That’s what makes this situation so utterly ridiculous. A few days back, I asked the following question on Identi.ca:

    Had McLaren told the truth in the first meeting with the stewards in Melbourne, would Hamilton have likely finished in the position he did finish in (3rd) and Trulli in his position (4th) with no penalties being handed out, at all?

    Few responded, but those who did said that is the likely result had everyone been honest in that first (and therefore, only) meeting.

    Studies upon studies and a large body of research have shown that “I was just following orders” actually is a very real reason for people doing things that fly in the face of their morals and values.

    I touched on this a few comments back, but few want to delve into that side of things, so thank you Explosiva for adding your thoughts on the this side of the matter.

    While perhaps the example chosen is a little, erm, touchy, Lewis was in a way following orders from his employer – a body of authority to him. There is a way out of it, because Lewis wasn’t in battle or being placed in a position where is life was at risk (the steward’s office), so he could have questioned Ryan or asked for a few moments after Ryan had interrupted him to speak privately.

    Not to mention the fact that stewards ARE “the authority” on a GP wwek end…

    So is his employer.

    My feelings are that both have been fairly punished.

    Precedent says otherwise though. Schumacher brought the sport into disrepute in Jerez in ’97 and was disqualified from the championship. Again at Monaco when he decided to park up at the Rascasse, which I think resulted in a grid demotion. And of course, McLaren received some hefty punishments in 2007 for bringing the sport into disrepute. Although the circumstances are different each of these cases, the charges for 2007 and this one in 2009 are the same – disrepute.

  • Also…

    To return to the original questions: Does Lewis and/or McLaren deserve to be further penalized? If so, why? My feelings are that both have been fairly punished. Adding additional punishments would be unfair and uncalled for.

    If some sort of mass conspiracy that goes beyond the Ryan/Hamilton combo, then yes, they should be further penalized. Hopefully no other persons were involved. But I think they’ll be more punishment. I’m not a McLaren fanboy but I can’t help but believe they are not FIA’s favorite team.

  • A few days back, I asked the following question on Identi.ca:

    And it seems I cannot remember my line of thinking when I dented that question. I said Hamilton would be in 4th. Ooh err. Anyway, the point being that positions would have finalised according to the rules and that would have been the end of it. 3rd, 4th, whatever, McLaren wouldn’t be in the position they are in now.

  • Lewis is no kid. He can vote, at his age of lot of men are responsible for a family, fight in the British Army and are facing death everyday, and can be -like any other citizen- sued in court and held responsible for their actions so surely Lewis can also take responsabilities for what he does.

    However the (only) question is: Can a compeetitor lie, and deliberately let another competitor be punished for something he has not done and get away with it? My answer is clearly NO, NO, NO.

    “hopefully no other person is involved”

    Is this a statement or a wish?

    It is a wish I’m afraid, So why do you jump to conclusion?

    Nevertheless I agree with you if only Lewis and Dave are implied then the case should be dropped.

    An account of the whole story by Adam Cooper is available on autosport.com and doesn’t leave much doubt on McLaren unfair behaviour… but it is available only to subscribers, sorry I cannot copy it… but if you can acccess it :

    http://www.autosport.com/features/article.php/id/2100

    It’s not because the FIA are a bunch of ***** that they are always wrong… Life is not black and white and McLaren is not “whiter than white” because this is strictly impossible to start with 🙂

    Over and Out….

  • “hopefully no other person is involved”

    Is this a statement or a wish?

    I read that as a hope, or a “wish” if you will. But I’ll let Explosiva clarify for finality.

    Can a compeetitor lie, and deliberately let another competitor be punished for something he has not done and get away with it? My answer is clearly NO, NO, NO.

    This is the real question here, and why McLaren have been invited to the extraordinary meeting. It has nothing to do with who finished where in the race. It has everything to do with the fact that somebody, somewhere, lied. And were eventually caught.

    Over and Out…

    Enjoy your evening, Ago. Thanks for adding your thoughts today. 🙂

    As An Aside…

    Ago mentioned earlier:

    Dear Ollie this is a (your!) blog and I understand it doesn’t reflect your own opinions else you would have removed some of my comments before 🙂

    I’ve never been addressed on BF1 as “Dear Ollie” before. Thanks.

    I generally keep my opinions out of the flow of comments because unlike many other bloggers who think their sole purpose is to encourage controversy without reason, I feel you guys and gals do a grand job of debating in respectful manner these things by yourselves. I’ll often let my views slip in if I think it will aid the conversation, but even then, it may not actually be my opinion; devil’s advocate and all that. 😈

    (I’ve been longing for an excuse to use that smilie!)

    I’m not after arguments or pageviews. I’m after conversation and so far, this tactic has been achieved reasonably well. I very, very rarely delete comments, or even edit comments. Pink’s comment went to moderation for 7+ hours because the good lady used a naughty word and I was asleep/at work, but I let it stand because the word wasn’t directed at anybody with malice. If it were, I would have likely emailed Pink for clarification because that isn’t her usual nature. People who start off with those kind of comments (that get auto-modded) don’t get that luxury – the reservoir starts off empty, just as it does in real life. And for the record, Pink’s is still very much full. The fault was with myself on that one for not bothering to check email in the morning.

    McLaren + FIA = Lots of comments, and while some are very distasteful, these do not see the light of day because of processes involved in the background which filter them out beforehand. And generally speaking, you guys and gals keep good order and are respectful to one another, for which I am thankful.

    So, great comments everybody, thank you. No doubt you’ll all be debating in full force on Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 29th as well. 😉

    And to think the season is only 2 races old. Is it really gonna be one of those years…?

    …End Of Aside

    Which really was an entire blog post in itself, but whatever…

    I can understand why the FIA would say that Lewis was in an impossible position. It is the conflict between the stewards and McLaren; who does one’s loyalty side with. From Lewis’s perspective, while he knew he was doing wrong by not “correcting” Ryan’s interjection in that meeting, he also knows where his salary comes from.

  • “hopefully no other person is involved”

    Is this a statement or a wish?

    My blind hope for mankind…that as few people as possible within that organization are of the blatant lying/cheating kind just waiting to be outed…

  • Hi again,

    Ok then let’s wait until we see what happens before thinking “they’ll be more punishment” because ” they are not FIA’s favorite team.” Explosiva…. I also take for granted that your “blindhope for mankind” is also good for the FIA as they too might have as “few people as possible within that organization are of the blatant lying/cheating kind just waiting to be outed”

    It is a very common place today to put all the blame on the FIA and I find that to be a bit unfair. I usually do not forgive my friends’s wrong doings because “the others” do even worse. It usually even goes the other way around: I expect my friends to be flawless, a quality that obviously “the bad guys” can’t match.

    Also I believe Dave Ryan was the escape goat. Not being employed anymore by McL the FIA has no right to ask him to give his version in front of the WMSC. Isn’t that quite convenient for McLaren???

    I am not saying I am right, only saying the situation is quite complex and I find hard to see people jumping to conclusions before the facts are public (if they will ever be…) in all fairness it is impossible to assess McLaren’s responsability at this stage.

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