McLaren Given A Stay Of Execution

McLaren was spared from a potentially fatal decision from the FIA World Motorsport Council when they were given a suspended sentence. If the punishment wasn’t suspended, McLaren would have been banned from the next three races.

This is just one of many times that McLaren has been paraded in front of the WMSC. The last time was “Stepney-gate” when McLaren’s Mike Coughlin was passed confidential Ferrari information by Nigel Stepney. The FIA fined McLaren $100 million and threw them out of the 2007 Constructors’ Championship.

This time, McLaren was in hot water over “Lie-gate”. This stems from the Australian GP when Lewis Hamilton and McLaren official Dave Ryan lied to race stewards, saying that Jarno Trulli passed Hamilton under a caution flag instead of being let through. After evidence came out that the two had lied, Hamilton apologized, Ryan was fired, and team boss Ron Dennis resigned. All this, combined with a formal apology at the meeting by McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh, led the FIA to issue only a suspended race ban.

F1 insiders were concerned about the potential punishment that the FIA would issue and spinoff effects it would have for McLaren. Some McLaren sponsors were rumoured to be prepared to leave the team if the FIA issued a large fine or a multiple race ban. Fortunately for McLaren, the suspended ban will likely help them avoid all the potential sponsorship ramifications.

The FIA did note that the ban could go into effect if more evidence comes to light or if McLaren again violate Article 151c of the International Sporting Code (bringing the sport into disrepute).


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