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Page last updated at 16:28 GMT, Tuesday, 7 April 2009 17:28 UK

McLaren face FIA 'lying' inquiry

Lewis Hamilton lets Jarno Trulli overtake him in Australia

Hamilton's worst week

McLaren will appear before Formula 1's governing body, the FIA, on 29 April to answer charges relating to a breach of the International Sporting Code.

McLaren were found guilty of misleading race stewards following the Australian Grand Prix, which led to Lewis Hamilton being disqualified from the race.

Hamilton was awarded third place before being stripped of his points.

The FIA will hold the extraordinary meeting in Paris where McLaren will be expected to be present.

"McLaren acknowledge receipt of an invitation to appear at an FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting in Paris on April 29, received this (Tuesday) afternoon," said a McLaren statement.

"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.

The FIA said McLaren knew it was lying when it told race officials that it had not given Hamilton instructions to let Toyota's Jarno Trulli overtake while the pair were behind the safety car.

We've got to learn from it and we've got to be better in future

Martin Whitmarsh
McLaren team principal

The FIA also claimed that McLaren had made no attempt to rectify its evidence under scrutiny.

The World Council is the body which disqualified McLaren from the constructors' championship and fined them $100m (£67m) for their role in a spy scandal involving Ferrari in 2007.

There is no limit to the action it could take in this instance if it deemed it serious enough.

Hamilton, who issued an emotional public apology after the incident, is expected to escape further censure.

Martin Whitmash

Whitmash promises McLaren review

The world champion has said he was ordered to give misleading evidence by sporting director Dave Ryan, who was with him at the hearings.

Ryan, who has worked for McLaren for 35 years, has now been sacked.

The two were found guilty of "providing evidence deliberately misleading to the stewards".

Hamilton finished fourth behind Trulli's Toyota, who McLaren accused of breaking F1 rules by overtaking while the field was under the control of the safety car.

Officials initially gave Trulli a 25-second penalty, promoting Hamilton to third after Hamilton and Ryan gave evidence he had not deliberately let the Italian through, and he had not been asked by the team to do so.

But McLaren's radio communication contradicted this - and after reconvening in Malaysia at the end of last week, Hamilton was disqualified from the Australian race and Trulli reinstated to third place.

Jonathan Legard

Team principal Martin Whitmarsh, whose own job is under scrutiny, has admitted the team made serious errors in their handling of the situation.

He took over from Ron Dennis as team principal only on 1 March and has admitted he did consider resigning at the end of last week.

"It wouldn't be true to say that it (resignation) wasn't (on my mind) because at a time like this, you think about what you got involved with the sport for, and it wasn't for this sort of thing," he said in Malaysia.

"It hasn't been a great experience for me and it wasn't what I started out 20 years ago to experience.

"In the longer term, I can contemplate my future. It's not self-determining.

"It's for the shareholders of this team to take a view and it's ultimately up to them to decide what's best for this team.

"I'm not resigning this weekend. We've made commitments to look at how we arrived at this situation.

"We've got to learn from it and we've got to be better in future."

McLaren are to answer charges that:

- On 29 March, 2009, told the stewards of the Australian Grand Prix that no instructions were given to Hamilton to allow Jarno Trulli to pass when both cars were behind the safety car, knowing this statement to be untrue.

- Procured its driver, Hamilton 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 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 what he was saying to the stewards was not true.

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see also
McLaren dismiss long-serving Ryan
07 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
What next for Hamilton?
07 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
I am not a liar, insists Hamilton
03 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
Hamilton loses Aussie GP points
02 Apr 09 |  Formula 1
McLaren admission ends F1 spy row
18 Dec 07 |  Formula 1
'Line drawn' under F1 spy scandal
05 Mar 09 |  Formula 1
McLaren hit by constructors' ban
13 Sep 07 |  Formula 1

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