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Fresh insight into McLaren case
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Fresh insight into McLaren case
Posted By:   |  10 Apr 2009   |  6:40 am GMT  |  91 comments

I’m grateful to one of my readers, doctorvee, for posting a very interesting comment here on the JA on F1 site. He highlights an interview which McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh gave to the BBC at the end of the Australian Grand Prix.

“…there’s some debate about whether it’s a 3rd place at the moment given that Trulli fell off and re-passed under the Safety Car…

[Ted Kravitz asks him to expand on this.]

…At the end, under the Safety Car, Trulli fell off onto the grass and Lewis had no choice but to go past him. He was not on the racing circuit. Trulli then re-took the place under the Safety Car, which ordinarily you wouldn’t do.

I know that the FIA are looking at it at the moment and doubtless we’ll have a ruling in due course.”

doctorvee adds: “Martin Whitmarsh was not asked if there were any radio conversations. But he chose to omit this information regardless. The BBC’s viewers were left with the impression that Jarno Trulli had passed Lewis Hamilton of his own accord, not having been invited to do so. This version of events is very similar to the one we are led to understand was relayed to the stewards.

This would seem to suggest that very soon after the end of the race, a version of events — the official McLaren party line, as it were — was constructed. This is the version of events that Martin Whitmarsh gave to Ted Kravitz and the BBC’s viewers. ”

His conclusion from all this is that the line presented by Davy Ryan in the stewards room was the team’s party line, not the act of a ‘rogue employee’, as it is now being presented. The significance of this is that the FIA WMSC will seek to analyse the degree to which others in the team were involved.

Whitmarsh shows that he is eager to secure the third place. But the word ‘ordinarily’ is the one that catches my eye here, it shows that a degree of reflection is taking place, but also that there may be extenuating circumstances. It almost invites a sub clause in brackets, such as …(unless invited to do so…)

What do you think?

Meanwhile the FIA has released some more information on the second stewards’ hearing in Sepang, which appears to show Hamilton and Ryan sticking to their line that Trulli passed without invitation, despite being played recordings of both the original radio traffic and Hamilton’s post race interview, where it is quite clear he had understood that the team was telling him to let Trulli through.

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91 Comments
  1. Kris says:

    It’s chimp-life incompetency whichever way you look at it regardless of whether the potential punishments meted out are overblown or not.

    Was struggling during the testing period to understand how a company with so many resources could come up with such a stinker of a car. Yet, the more you read about the post-Oz gp activities, the more you see that incompetence seems to be inherent across the organization.

    Seems the more we hear about this, the more difficult it is to find an angle from which its possible to give Mclaren the benefit of the doubt.

    Rumblings out of Stutgart and Brawn’s success making meslightly nervous about Mercedes’ long-term intentions. I guess though, any attempt to walk away by Mclaren would be tempered by the prospect of making a huge loss on their 40% investment. Doesn’t exactly seem like engine manufacturers are lining up to enter the sport, not least to join teams with chequered reputations.

  2. Lynn says:

    James, wishing you a Blessed Good Friday & a Happy Easter!

    A Kimi fan.

  3. HR says:

    Yes, but what of Jarno Trulli’s comment post race Australia:

    In Part:

    “When the safety car came out towards the end of the race Lewis Hamilton passed me but soon after he suddenly slowed down and pulled over to the side of the road. I thought he had a problem so I overtook him as there was nothing else I could do.”

    That is factually correct but also totally disingenuous.

    He doesn’t mention that he was off the track by a cars width for around 100 meters.

    Really, we all know McLaren messed up, but endlessly parsing post race comments works both ways.

  4. Mark says:

    I think there is a danger of over analysing this and seeing things where there aren’t and of course vice versa. Who knows what the exact truth is…

    The revelation that Hamilton and Ryan didn’t change their line when presented with clear evidence of the truth is incredible. In my mind this hasn’t done them any favours at all. For me, it makes Hamilton’s apology worthless and that if McLaren receive a huge punishment then so should he – and this comes from a Hamilton supporter (at least on the track!). He said he was ‘misled’ by his team. If he had used the word ‘ordered’ then I would put the blame on the team – but he didn’t. The lie wasn’t just a spur of the moment mistake either. I think a suitable punishment would be to ban Hamilton and his McLaren for a race or two but to leave Kovalainen alone.

    Through all of this, the person I feel sorry for is Ron Dennis – the company he has built up over the last 25 years is being seriously damaged. I might be wrong of course, but my personal opinion is that he is an innocent party whose employees are creating an awful mess. I thought the same about spygate and don’t think he got enough credit for going straight to the FIA when he discovered the reality.

  5. John Kilmartin says:

    I think you should remain in a holding pattern on this one. With hindsight and motive it is easy to read all sorts of past comments in many ways.

    This is being dealt with and if the evidence stacks up then McLaren will go down in flames.

    Constructing stories in this way is every easy to do but very poor journalism IMO.

    Take for instance the reliance on the word “ordinarily”. Ordinarily cars do not fall off the track behind the SC.

    So does “ordinarily” simply mean it was not an ordinary situation of someone passing under the SC there are other circumstances.

    How you choose to interpret that is the difference honest, intelligent journalism and riding a broomstick.

  6. Nick D says:

    It seems to me that Lewis is as culpable as both Ryan and probably the team too, regardless of his apology. It’s very easy to be sorry ‘after the fact’ and once you’ve been found out. I wonder what Toyota and Truli really think about this? They were the ones affected by the dishonesty.

  7. Jon says:

    It seems to me that, it’s much like the Spygate scandle, where it runs deeper into McLaren than we are lead to believe. And looks more like McLaren trying to scapegoat Ryan. If this is true, then McLaren have been very stupid and naive to think it wouldn’t be found out.

    I’m interested James as to why everyone seems to think it’ll be McLaren penalised and not Lewis Hamilton. He was party to what was going on, and should therefore face some of the blame.

  8. Ali says:

    What is so fascinating all about this scandal is that Hamilton and Ryan insisted that no radio conversion was held between them event hough they were given to Hamilton’s after-race interview and radio recordings. I became sub-mental when I read this kind of “commitment” to an organization. Totally insane. It’s not lie, it’s not a team play nor a sacrifice; it’s unstable.

    From another aspect, what Hamilton said in this apology press conference paraphrasingly “What would you do? I’m not a liar, I’m a team player” just reminded me an experiment (called Milgram) in which people were “ordered” to apply electric voltage to a test object (actually a human being) and regularly increase the voltage while they were witnessing the pain that test object suffers. Nearly 65% of people obeyed the order eventhough they saw test object was feeling pain (not feeling any pain at all). And when they were asked, they said they didn’t feel any guiltiness as they were told to do so.

    This kind of obediance level of Hamilton makes me believe McLaren is not the only scapegoat. Hamilton’s ethical behavior should also be questioned as he told a big lie and accordingly kept his silence following the week. Albeit, not in any World Motor Sport Council but in some spiritual courts.

  9. Rich Hawes says:

    The comments of M. W. are very interesting but I also remember him saying that looking at the telemetry of Hamilton’s car showed that he didn’t slow down to let Trulli through as it was the same or similar to his previous lap. Now we all saw that Hamilton did slow down to let him by, so this statement is either a deliberate lie or the telemetry was not accurate which is doubtful.
    All these snippets of information are building up to show that there was a lot of discussion within the team before Ryan and Hamilton went to the stewards, so I think there is still more damning evidence to come out. I wonder if Dave Ryan will want to appear in front of the stewards, could be interesting.

  10. Interesting analysis James. This is certainly a crucial piece of evidence that the WMSC will have to consider, and could be THE evidence in the hearing that proves that McLaren as a team were complicit in lie-gate.

    Lets hope that the truth comes out and everyone gets a fair hearing & punishment.

  11. jim says:

    I agree that by “not ordinarily” he likely meant “he normally shouldn’t have, but we let him pass even though were not quite sure that was right.” still somewhat of an omission, but I think it’s reasonabl that it was just a more favorable version of events immediate post-race than a deliberate lie, or more of a hedge to say they were just trying to be safe, but we also dont know if we just gave up a spot when we didn’t need to (so this is all I’m gonna say).

    Btw, am i right to assume that if they all told the truth, the fia would have told mclaren, tough luck, you gave up the spot?

  12. Alex says:

    I have to disagree with the assumptions being made here. Martin Whitmarsh “chose to omit this information regardless”. Regardless of not being asked??!! I think doctorvee is trying to carefully construct their own case here, but applaud them on their careful use of language to imply a stonger case.

    It was straight after the race and at this time everybody was confused. TV hadn’t shown the footage so I very much doubt whitmarsh had seen it either. Therefore, regardless of the radio conversation, it quite easy to believe that Whitmarsh didn’t know exactly how Trulli had passed. He might reasonably have thought that Trulli had in fact passed Hamilton before Hamilton reacted to the order to let him through.

    Had he been asked the question, the most honest answer might have been: “yes we told Lewis to let him through, but we don’t know exactly under what circumstances Trulli passed”. But in light of the doubt and given that the question wasn’t even asked it was perfectly reasonable not to tell the world “we let him through”.

    Of course it isn’t reasonable that this was the line given later by Ryan and Hamilton to stewards when they knew different.

    Had whitmarsh been asked the question and denied the order to let Trull through it would look very bad, but to try to implicate Whitmarsh and mclaren from something they didn’t say when they were not even asked is absurd and clearly wrong to me.

  13. Steve Arnott says:

    I’ve been mulling over this very thing since liargate first kicked off. It smacks of a corporate cover-up with Davey Ryan (who may well have been instrumental in contriving Macca’s account, but possibly not alone in doing so) becoming the sole fall guy.

    I hate this. I’ve been a staunch follower of McLaren forever, and that loyalty was due nearly entirely to their approach to racing: professional, passionate and honest.

    Don’t let me down now! But I fear the evidence is mounting against the boys and girls from Woking. Has McLaren as we know it had its day?

  14. Pete says:

    I think there’s definitely more to this than we’ve been told so far. I don’t think it’s just the actions of a “rogue” employee, and I do think that a penalty should be given to not only the team but Lewis as well. Lying once when you’re told to do it is wrong, but he could say he was acting under orders. However lying continually even when the FIA stewards have shown him evidence to the contrary definately makes it look like Lewis was involved at a much deeper level than his grovelling apology made out. The apology makes it look more like a naughty schoolboy who’s got caught smoking behind the bike-sheds with his mates and instead of taking the rap he’s put his hand up and shouted “Sir, sir… But SIR! They made me do it!!!

    The one person I feel sorry for in all of this is Kovi. He’s done nothing wrong, hasn’t been telling porkies for his team and he’s kept well away from it all.

    Question is, how do they punish the team and not Kovi who wasn’t involved? Is it feasable that McLaren could be DQ’d from the WCC and handed race bans for one car, but still be allowed to run Kovi?

  15. Lee says:

    It would appear McLaren have 1 of 2 possible problems.

    1. They seem to employ a high number of ‘rogue’ employees. The statements coming from McLaren currently are very similar to the spy affair “We didn’t know”, “no-one at senior level knew”, “It was a rogue employee acting alone” etc etc.

    2. McLaren are just cheats, and that to some degree the senior people DO know what’s going on. It was shown in the spy affair that the DID know more than they were letting on and it would also appear in this case that Whitmarsh knew what was going on as well… not good.

    What annoys me about McLaren (and I’m a fan by the way) is the ‘whiter than white’ image they ‘try’ to project and yet they undermine it by either being the biggest or worst (not sure which) liars in F1.

  16. Ashutosh Karkhanis says:

    Unfortunately, and however the british fans may dislike it (Sir Dumbhead Jackie Stewert Included), Lewis and Mclaren cheated, and have been caught in the act.
    This after they were caught in spygate, and promised to reform, which this incident clearly proves they didn’t.
    I see no reason, why they should not face severe santions now. They fully deserve it.
    As for SIR Jackie (Pun Intended), he never lost his sense of thinking long ago. All he can see is RED, when he looks at the FIA. Am sure, if asked the colour of the FIA flag, he will answer, RED (Maybe with a prancing horse)

  17. Matthew says:

    Oh dear, this is really going to hit the fan.
    - I sense the end of a mclaren resurgence.
    - Maybe the end of the Mercedes deal.
    - Probably the splitting of Hamilton and Mclaren.
    - Whitmarsh would have to step down.
    - Dennis may follow.

    I think McLaren is going to substantially change after this. Can they really take all these hits? Will they still be a dominate force in f1? will they be an also-ran? Will they crumble under debt and bad image? Will they stay in f1? (probably) One thing is certain.. if they get a harsh penalty, the people that make up the face of McLaren will change beyond recognition, and a new era will begin. Possibly a less successful one.

    ( I can’t stand soap opera, but it’s just occured to me, that I’ve been drawn in to one without realising! darn! )

  18. Colin says:

    “What do you think?”

    I think our eyes are glazing over Sir!

    It’s like watching a Jack Russell Terrier chasing its tail.
    I refer to the media frenzy. I like what Joe Saward said on his excellent blog. He pointed out the hypocrisy of journalists condemning parties when they were themselves lying to fiddle their expenses.

    But how is Mr. Hamilton to “invite” Mr. Trulli to overtake, since they don’t have direct radio contact, they must rely on hand-signals, or car positioning, such as overtly slowing down and making room for the pass. A situation open to subjective interpretation by both parties.

    We know the Stewards are partial, and that they have McLaren walking the plank, over a barrel, up the creek… choose your cliche.

    Let’s talk about the racing please.

  19. Ian says:

    Regrettably…. I agree that the words Martin Whitmarsh choose to use does provide credibility to the theory of a team position rather than the act of a rogue employee that we have been led to believe. Presumably, as team Principal he would have been privy to the radio traffic himself so it does seem an odd thing to say as well as the terms in which it was couched.

    I’m a British team/driver fan so follow JB, BrawnGP as well as McLaren, LH, etc. With the report of possible race and/or Championship exclusions being reported for McLaren, the problem I have is that, whilst the sort of behaviour McLaren is being investigated for should be penalised, the penalty must be carefully considered to suit the ‘crime’. The spy scandal was, in my view, a much more serious strategic offence that affected the cars very development and merited a penalty of ‘seasonal’ proportions. In this instance, LH and McLaren simply stood to gain a position that they had already earned but, as a result of lying to the Stewards, ended up losing all the points for the race. Whilst some action against the team itself for lying seems inevitable and appropriate, if McLaren are to be punished with such draconian measures as being banned from more than one race or even omission from the Constructors’ Championship then this seems to go much too far in my opinion. F1 has suffered bad press from overzealous stewarding and onerous decisions post-race in the past; by comparison, Ferrari have got away with murder. A heavily penalised team so early in the season would have no real chance of contending for a Championship which would ruin the competitive essence of the season for everyone.. By all means wring the truth out of McLaren but if the truth is a ‘team lie’ then make the punishment financial and/or force dismissals of those found to be responsible otherwise F1 itself may well become the biggest loser here….

  20. Cliff says:

    James, I too saw the interview. I have to say that the response given by Martin Whitmarsh was no different from what I would expect from a CEO/MD of any company…even when their backs are up against the wall! A CEO will only answer the specific question. The case appears to be clear-cut so for the life of me, I cannot see why the FIA/WMSC need to drag it out any further. They obviously believe that the offence is serious and McLaren do not appear to be arguing against that facts, so why spend all this time and money (not to mention the Lawyers fees) arranging the upcoming EGM? The FIA should take a leaf out of their own book and reduce costs and make a decision. I’m not a betting man, but I can see a ban heading in the direction of Woking. My own view is that this affair is now being blown up out of all proprtion, when did F1 become of sport of gentlemen, gentlemen that play by, and abide by the rules? The difference this time is that one of the gentlemen got caught out in a very public way.

  21. Jake says:

    I agree that the McLaren team must have already organised a story of sorts shortly after the end of the race.
    However, it is quite obvious even Whitmarsh had not thought things through very well at that stage.

    Indeed they were having trouble deciding upon action during the race, as although the instruction to allow Trulli through was clearly given, the next instruction passed to Hamilton was to stay in front of Trulli.
    Unfortunately Lewis’ prompt obedience to the first order changed the situation dramatically, once again forcing a rethink.

    McLarne’s crime of course is not the on-track manoeuvre but the off-track, and this is what hurts the officials so badly. They are insulted by being mislead and want their pound of flesh.

    At this stage I would dearly love to hear what Toyota have to say. Where is their in car radio from that period? What were they telling Trulli that he slowed so much once he had re-passed Hamilton? I imagine he and Toyota were rather concerned about the position swapping at the time, but none of this has been discussed from their perspective.

  22. LeighJW says:

    “Martin Whitmarsh was not asked if there were any radio conversations. But he chose to omit this information regardless. The BBC’s viewers were left with the impression that Jarno Trulli had passed Lewis Hamilton of his own accord, not having been invited to do so.”

    James, I think the line of reasoning presented above as a result of doctorvee’s observations is at best tenuous, at worst, bulls**t.

    You more than I are probably aware of how these post race interviews are held. I imagine a a scrum of journalists with network time constraints to consider each getting a brief chance for a soundbite. It is not exactly a court of law and, under such conditions, to accuse Martin Whitmarsh of failing to answer a question he was not asked is frankly laughable.

    Having said that I have no dount that it will now become grist to the mill for the broomstick brigade.

    The FIA has nurtured such a feeling of paranoia at McLaren that they felt the need to try to protect their rightful placing of third. I am not saying that what McLaren did was right, but how can a team operate under such victimisation as we have seen for the past few years?

    If we had an honest and fair governing body who had done what they should have done (via race control) none of this nonsense would have occurred.

  23. martin tf says:

    I’ve got to say that in the past I felt a little sympathy for McLaren in their run ins with the FIA. This time however it looks increasingly like they are entirely to blame and have made a HUGE mistake. Potentially a short ban may give the team the shock it needs to sort itself out.

  24. Steven says:

    I’d noticed that too whilst watching the live coverage on BBC1. Would Whitmarsh have known about the radio exchange? It’s unconceivable that he didn’t so it looks like he lied live on BBC TV! I’m sure the WMSC will use this as evidence. It baffles me to why McLaren would do all of this.

    Bring back Ron Dennis as team principle to sort them all out!

  25. Jonah says:

    It does sound like Whitmarsh directed the whole thing, however I suspect Whitmarsh’s line was: “Don’t lie, but don’t say more than the minimum, let the stewards make their own minds up”. McLaren wanted to give the impression that Trulli was in the wrong, but were intent on misleading rather than deceiving. It’s a fine line, and apparently one which Ryan and Hamilton fell foul of.

    McLaren were foolish to angle for 3rd when their 4th place was already a fantastic result. They were trying to redress a cock-up entirely of their own making. That said, aren’t the FIA going totally overboard? The team have been amply punished by being stripped of all points in Australian, same for Hamilton. Surely this is enough? That and the embarrassing headlines should have sufficed, instead the FIA are treating it like murder in the first degree – it seems wholly out of proportion.

  26. Lee Gilbert says:

    Regarding MW comments…

    What I think is clear in this is:

    1) All of this started because of confusion surrounding Trulli leaving the race track.
    2) The team did try and get a ruling on if LH should allow JT to pass
    3) LH allowed JT to pass before the team told him to let him pass
    4) The team then told LH to let him pass but did not have any official ruling at that point
    5) The confusion on the ruling therefore still existed at the end of the race
    6) At the point of being interviewed by Ted K, MW must have known the team instructed LH to pass (even though LH had already done so) as MW is sat on the pit wall

    Now unless the radio transmissions were somehow unknown to MW (cos he was doing a Kimi impression and taking ze **** or something) I think McClaren will find it impossible to prove MW did not know of the facts prior to Ryan and LH going to stewards and TK interviewing him for BBC – therein lies (no pun intended) the main problem, the rogue employee is impossible.

    Regarding the FIA punishment…

    The WMSC will have to punish this – no question as the sport will have no credibility and the WMSC will have no perceived power to deal with such matters.

    I think it unlikely that the WMSC will ban McClaren from the Constructors championship and fine them – as they recived so much negative publicity last time on such a punitive strategy

    Bernie’s comments about a few races ban is insightful and more realistic – given the treatment of BAR in 2005 regarding their fuel tank cheat (they got a 2 race ban)

    However another alternative, given McClarens obvious downforce troubles this year, is ban them from Friday practice sessions for several races – thereby hitting them in the development areas (giving the Sat morning practice still to ensure they at least have tyre info)

    In an era of no testing this will hurt McClaren and keep them at the back of the grid for longer – possibly a harsher punishment in the long run.

  27. Tomys says:

    That was also my way of thinking: should WMSC find that more people than only Ryan new about this, McLaren is in serious trouble. I frankly expect few races ban.

    James, have a nice weekend, I love this site and all people here! ;)

  28. MartinWR says:

    Another nice one for those with nothing better to do than savouring the hilarious antics of the gilded youth et famille, is the discrepancy between the “leaving McLaren” nonsense rhymes spouted by Haug and Whitmarsh.
    One says is, the other says ain’t.
    Get’s better don’t it? Is someone feeding these credulous twits different story lines? Is one being fed the truth, and the other one lies. No, more like it, maybe they’re both being fed lies!
    Ho, Ho!
    Can’t for the life of me think who might do that, though.
    Ah well, anything has to be better than contemplating Brown trashing the country on a daily basis.

  29. jed says:

    FIA vs Mclaren.

    Without any need to repeat the charges brought by the FIA against Mclaren (i assume that everyone reading this know the charges). IF PROVEN, would for sure bring about a heavy punishment. most probably the most severe under the sporting code which is the legal basis of the charges against mclaren. The reason that mclaren will most likely get a severe punishment is because they are a repeat offender or in legal terms a recidivist.

    I think this is why, in your words, james, mclaren “let it boil down to individuals”. Accepting this mistake as a team is not an option as the rogue employee defense is the best that they have.

    So far, the evidence the FIA has against mclaren are the radio transmissions and the statements of mr. hamilton in the media and in his public apology.

    It seems like the FIA has no direct evidence that mr. ryan and mr. hamilton acted with the full knowledge of the mclaren team management.

    Mclaren dismissed mr. ryan. the reason for this, i am almost certain, is to keep mr. ryan out of reach of the wmsc. Meaning as he is not an employee of Mclaren, therefore he cannot be involuntarily summoned by the wmsc and testify under oath, which testimony may be damaging for mclaren.

    Mr. Hamilton cannot be compelled testify, because if he does he would be a witness against himself, which is a violation of a basic right.

    I believe this is also where things get interesting.

    It seems that the FIA has enough evidence on hand to find mr. hamilton guilty. Mclaren’s guilt would hinge on the testimony of Mr. Hamilton. But Mr. Hamilton cannot be compelled to testify as his testimony will incriminate himself and definitely get him punished.

    The only way that Mr. hamilton can be compelled to testify is if he is offered immunity, thus, he will escape punishment but his team will be punished.

    Now who should be punished, mclaren or hamilton?

  30. Richard says:

    Sheesh. McLaren clearly did everything on track to make it right – could not do more. They screwed up post race, and have been punished. End of. Can we go racing now and get out of the courtroom, please?

    This is the 3rd year in a row I won’t be buying tickets to see a GP because of all the pathetic politics. Why pay (a not insubstantial amount of money) to see a race when there is a good chance the result won’t stand.

    For the record, I really truly don’t care which team is involved, I just want to see racing on track, with results that stand – not all this twisted ‘he said, she said’.

    The FIA really need to get grip. Makes me pretty sad really.

  31. Thomas in Adelaide says:

    All this for a lousy point?

    I am (was?) a McLaren/Hamilton fan, but they deserve everything they get over this. Lewis has shown his true character and no contrived apology will change that.

    I’ve always supported McLaren and despised Ferarri. Now that i think about it though, i think my loyalty has been misplaced.

    I hope the people of Britain embrace Button as a true sportsman and someone to be admired.

  32. Martin P says:

    Does anyone know what the McLaren policy is for listening into the in-car radio transmissions?

    I’m pretty sure it’s common sense to only have one person talking to Lewis, but I find it hard to believe it’s restricted to only one person listening in too. Surely there was more than just Dave Ryan with a set of headphones on at that particular stage of the race? (Bear in mind there was only one McLaren car on track too).

    If so, that means other team members heard the exchange. That also means that these other team members were fully aware that the pair had been less than truthful. If not in Australia, they would surely have realised they significance of their evidence by the time they reached Sepang and the debate exploded.

    It’s inconceivable to be that other team members didn’t know this was a lie before Martin Whitmarsh stood up at Sepang and defended their position. Everyone in that team with a pair of headphones on their head will have known. I can’t help wonder if Whitmarsh would have been listening in at such a critical stage too.

    I’m sure it can never be proved, but I find it hard to believe only Lewis and Ryan were aware of the content of that conversation. If not, then the collusion has run deep into the team by the fact everyone else also kept their lips sealed.

  33. Blotto says:

    In an interview after the match before the stewards enquirey Hamilton stated that the team radioed him to let Trulli back through as they weren’t sure whether the overtaking prior to that when Trulli went off track was legal under SC rules. McClarens undoubted and understandable paranoia with regards the stewarding of F1 has contributed to making a mountain out of a molehill. Nobody has come out and officially clarified that Hamiltons original overtake of Trulli was either legal or not. Its just pathetic politics and makes both the FIA and McClaren less than honest!
    There has to be a more proffesional and proactive stewarding during a race not the shambolic proceedings that are getting worse each season. For all the good the stewards do there are too many inconsisent rullings. There should be 2 full stewards that go to every race meeting plus one local steward, it wont stop all the errors but would reduce them and also give teams and drivers more consistent guidelines to work from.

  34. Gary D says:

    Golly times change, don’t they? All this forensic picking over the minutiae of the Australian race, the shenanigans afterwards with the stewards. Then the endless manoeuvrings which will culminate in A Very Serious and Indescribably Important Meeting in La Place de la Concorde on April 29 with a Collection of Immensely Important Frowning Gentlemen Sitting Around a Most Impressive Table.

    Brings to mind the actions of the delightful Harry Schell nearly 50 years ago during practice (now there’s a quaint term) for the 1959 United States Grand Prix at Sebring.

    Round the back of the circuit, the just beyond the MG bridge and before the esses was a sharp right turn. Harry realised that it led him straight onto the Warehouse Straight, thereby cutting out a very slow corner. Better still, it was nigh on impossible for the officials to see what he was up to.

    The net result was Harry getting his Cooper onto the front row of the grid, having been attributed a time several seconds faster than he and the car were capable. On the starting grid, there was a major ruckus, even as the majorettes pranced up and down and the band played the National Anthem. The Ferrari team manager, Tavoni, was involved in a major shouting match with the organisers as the minutes ticked by to the start.

    In the end, it all got sorted out. Harry started from the front row and finished the first lap in 8th place. The racing sorted it all out as it normally does. No lawyers made an easy buck. No FIA hearings, no huffing and puffing. No one calling for Harry and his team to be strung up from the nearest tree.

    Ah, but it was such a long time ago…..

    Oh, by the way, Bruce McLaren won his first ever Grand Prix and became the youngest Championship GP winner and Jack Brabham leapt out of his out of fuel car on the last lap and pushed it over the line to clinch his first Drivers’ Championship.

    Woulda got him a ban today, that woulda!

  35. Eclectic says:

    This whole catalogue of McLaren and Hamilton being proven serial liars and cheats might give people time to reflect on the 2007 Japanese GP at Fuji. Here, under the safety car Hamilton blatantly brake tested Vettel and Webber, which took them both out of the race. Hamilton denied what he had done vehemently and was happy for Vettel to face a 10 place grid penalty.

    The more we learn the more it is becoming clear how badly treated Alonso was at McLaren. So far he has been a gentleman and kept quiet, but it is increasingly obvious that his team mate went to war against him using all means possible.

    When Hamilton made his famous apology in Malaya he apologised for how much he was suffering from being found out. He never once apologised to Jarno Trulli for trying to cheat him out of points and for effectively calling him a liar.

  36. JEFF says:

    trouble is, you have it the wrong way around.
    Dave ryan was the sporting director, as such, if anyone briefed anyone as to what the situation was, ryan would have told whitmarsh, not the other way around.
    what is also true, is that even up to when whitmarsh suspended him, ryan still maintained he had done nothing wrong.
    the trouble with this kind oh micro disecting of events is that you can come up with pretty much any theory you like…if you chosse to ignor other facts….such as ryan being the sporting director, and what that actaully means.

  37. Darryl Williams says:

    James, Love your website and the McLaren thing is very important to all of us. But do you think you might occasionally fit in a word about at least one of the other 19 drivers on the grid? The reason I am distinctly NOT a fan of Lewis Hamilton is that the english speaking media cover him and only him. Can you get over it and write some interesting stuff about SOMEBODY ELSE???

  38. PaulL says:

    An interesting point to consider, is that whilst Formula 1′s FIA would unlikely willingly ban Hamilton from races because of the negative commercial effect, would the WMSC act in accordance with that also?

    The WMSC appear to be an independent body. I had heard Max and Bernie lobbied for them not to throw Schumacher out of the drivers championship in 1994 over the pitlane fuel rig tampering, how much influence might they have now?

  39. jon clucas says:

    I love how Berne is giving interviews to the British tabloids suggesting that McLaren might well receive race bans etc.

    This is so, so wrong in my mind – and much, much worse than a couple of lies at the end of an incredibly tough 2 hour F1 race, when spirits are high and the competative nature is running high with your adrenilan and emotions raging through your veins

    (trust me, after years of competetive cycling, i done all sorts of things to give me an extra point or two, which i’d best not go into on a forum….)

    THe importatnt thing is though, i never got caught, but nknew that at least 50% of the field was doing the same

    Sorry, i’ve digressed

    So, what gives Bernie to right to suggest possible outcomes of the FIA court of appeal?

    He is in chage of the commercial rights and should have no impact of their thought process

    Personally, i think this whole affair is bonkers, and mixed with the silly row over diffusers and Toyota’s flexi-wing is dragging our attention away from the best season start – in the form of racing – that i can remember (watching since ’85)

    Come on Bernie – put a stop to the political sh*tstorm and let us watch some racing!

    Happy Easter to you and the family James!

  40. Lee says:

    Ok well I remember the tv interview and listened to the radio conversations and checked the 2nd meeting comments. In my opinion the entire management knew exactly what was going on and together decided it would be in the financial gain of the team to lie to the officials and to the public. Bear in mind each and every one of us was misled after the race people. The punishment would be deserved however harsh looking at all this. Plus I certainly would put at least a 20-30% bet that Mclaren are not in the sport next season.

  41. Erik Fazekas says:

    I agree with you James, ‘ordinarily’ does imply to me that Martin Whitmarsh knew of the extenuating circumstances in this case.

    But this is precisely why I think everyone is blowing this out of proportion. I did hear Whitmarsh’s comments at the time (Australia gets the live BBC coverage) and I did think to myself that ‘ordinarily’ seems to imply that something was not ordinary in this case. And he knew that.

    But I think this was just McLaren being cheeky in approaching the stewards, knowing that they asked Lewis to slow down, but probably thought – ‘we screwed up in instructing Lewis but let’s appeal and see if we can get a result in our favour. If the stewards say no then so be it, at least we gave it a shot’ (remember that McLaren were trying to get Whiting onto the case at the time with no luck). They got a result of course but then the FIA hands out such an overtly draconian penalty to Truly that it leads to the mess we have now. McLaren I’m sure did not anticipate Truly ending up dead last beause of their appeal..

    So to me this is a tough one to judge. And perhaps that’s the point, maybe we shouldn’t judge them. I’m sure McLaren were simply acting in a manner which is probably commonplace in F1 (according to Ralf Schumacher anyway). But then as Ecclestone rightly puts it this was the equivalent of fraud if you remember that all of these points basically count as income. But then if such things are indeed so important, shouldn’t the FIA be slightly responsible for making sure that there are people who are reachable in the heat of battle?.. There was no ref on the field because he was too busy looking at a replay of Vetel..

    I think what everyone will learn from this is that with today’s coverage of live interviews and open radios being streamed all over the world, everyone must raise their game – because F1′s glossy image suddeny looks mortal.

    McLaren screwed up for sure but I don’t believe they deserve to be sacraficed at the altar like so many are making out. Dave Ryan’s firing was very wrong but you can slightly understand it. A desperate attempt to save the image of the team and not get fined another 100mil. In today’s economy that would probably mean no Benz, bye bye Hamilton, and most probably the end of McLaren as a force. And that’s no good for anyone..

  42. EC says:

    McLaren would have been fine if they’d admitted to instructing Hamilton to give way to Trulli, and instructed Hamilton to tell the truth about having received those instructions when queried by the officials. If events had played out thusly, it’s reasonable to speculate that Trulli would have third place and Hamilton would have fourth place, and no troubles would have erupted.

    Instead, McLaren lied by omission about the radio communications, and then instructed Hamilton to lie. Ask yourself this : would Stirling Moss have obeyed instructions to lie ? I think not. It’s obvious what McLaren’s motivation for lying was : they hoped to gain position in the finishing order for the race as a result of Trulli’s apparently illegal pass under the safety car.

    There are only two ways a person can interpret these events in a manner favorable to McLaren, and those are either a failure to properly analyze the situation or a pro-McLaren bias.

    Shame on McLaren for lying, and shame on Lewis Hamilton for lying. This behavior should be punished. To do otherwise casts the entire sport in a negative light, and raises the question : “who will be the next to lie and get away with it ?”. That lies have been told in the past by other teams IN NO WAY excuses this conduct by McLaren !

    I believe that others (higher up ) in the McLaren organization are also responsible for this mess. I believe Ryan has been made the “fall guy” and this is perhaps the very ugliest thing about the whole episode. I’d venture to guess Ryan departed with a nice “golden handshake”, the terms of which were that he refrain from commenting or face legal action and a loss of the “golden handshake”.

    Finally, I am not a fan of Ferrari, nor am I a fan of any other team in particular. Nor am I against McLaren. The problem I have with all this business is that it exemplifies the “win at all costs, never mind morals or ethics”, and that is the sort of attitude the world doesn’t need. What I AM a fan of is proper racing, and good character. And the latter is sadly in short supply on the world stage ( Tony Blair, George Bush, I’m looking at you as I say this ).

    The FIA needs to send a message that this sort of behavior will be severely punished, as much to show the values inherent in the sport of F1 as to act as a deterrent to similar conduct by other teams. Please don’t attempt to explain away McLaren’s conduct by pointing to past examples in which other teams have erred. Wrong is wrong, and at this level of world exposure, wrong must be punished, or we all risk an even further degradation of our societies, which are already in terrible shape.

    Finally, were I one of Hamilton’s sponsors, I would move immediately to cancel any contract which conveys sponsorship, and give money instead to someone like Tiger Woods, who truly does exemplify good character and ethical behavior.

  43. Gary D says:

    EC, just brilliant. Your terseness and exasperation – if I’m reading you correctly – precisely matches mine. Well said!

    James, please pass this on to The Powers That Be. The natives are decidely restless.

    Second thoughts, don’t worry, TPTB don’t give a tinker’s cuss.

  44. EC says:

    ( the comments below reflect some editing on my part, after reflecting on what I wrote earlier )

    McLaren would have secured fourth place if they’d admitted to instructing Hamilton to give way to Trulli, and instructed Hamilton to tell the truth when queried by the officials. I think it’s safe to say they’d like to have that fourth place now !

    Instead, McLaren lied by omission about the radio communications, and then instructed Hamilton to
    lie. It’s obvious what McLaren’s motivation for lying was : they hoped to gain a position in the finishing order for the race as a result of Trulli’s apparently illegal pass under the safety car.

    There are only two ways a person can interpret these
    events in a manner favorable to McLaren, and those are either a failure to properly analyze the situation or a pro-McLaren bias.

    Shame on McLaren for lying, and shame on Lewis Hamilton for lying under instruction. Lying should be punished. To do otherwise casts the sport in a negative light, and raises the question : “who will be the next to lie and get away with it ?”. That lies have been told in the past by other teams IN NO WAY excuses this conduct.

    I suspect ( though I have no proof ) that others (higher up ) in the McLaren organization may also be responsible for this mess. I believe Ryan has been made the “fall guy”, and this is in my opinion the very ugliest thing about the whole episode.

    Finally, I am NOT a fan of Ferrari ( I dislike them, actually ) nor am I a fan of any other team in particular. Nor am I against McLaren or Hamilton. The problem I have with this mess is that it exemplifies the “win at all costs, never mind morals or ethics”, and that is the sort of attitude the world doesn’t need. What I AM a fan of is proper racing, and proper ethics. As the latter is in such short supply on the world stage, I hope for a bit better from F1.

    The FIA needs to send a message that this sort of behavior will be punished. To do otherwise sends the message that if you’re clever you can lie and get away with it. That’s an unfortunate message to send, to say the least, and not only within the confines of the sport of F1, but in the rest of the world as well.

  45. Andy says:

    I think we may be over analysing the language used by Whitmarsh here, just because he used the word ordinarily.

    When he was speaking to Ted on BBC he was explaining the situation as he saw it at that time, after all it was not Whitmarsh on the radio to Lewis it was his engineer and it is quite possible that he did not know the message was given to Lewis to allow Trulli through.

  46. Leo Allen says:

    Dead right HR.

    Said it before and I’ll say it again. If you formed a queue of totally honest people in F1 to pass through the paddock gate, the gate man would be asleep in five minutes. The other gate, for those who are human, would have a very long queue with 99% of the F1 population.

    Same goes for many contributors to this debate. So many holier-than-thou’s make you want to throw up !

    Not excusing McLarens behaviour. Bruce will be turning in his grave. How in hell can a first class team behave so stupidly. Same goes for Ferrari. And BAR. etc…etc..

    The next person I meet involved in F1 who is pure as the driven snow will be the first !

    The whole event is massively depressing.

  47. pbyrne says:

    The most recent comments from the FIA surprised me because after earlier indicating that Hamilton was ‘procured’ into following the party line (placing more blame on team than driver), the revelation that both Hamilton and Ryan refused to tell the truth even when when re-played the recordings four or five days later seems damning in the extreme. This was no heat-of-the-moment reaction.

    I’m just sick of the lot of them – the FIA for their anti-McLaren bias, McLaren for it’s lying, spying and cheating, Lewis for being being part of it and being so weasly and two-faced in trying to deflect the blame onto those around him.

  48. malcom says:

    When Trulli went off the track under the safety car, and Lewis passed him did any other driver pass Trulli?

  49. JP says:

    Well McLaren have been found out telling lies. And Hamilton. Hamilton’s apology was cringe making. All ‘poor me’, pathetic really and he deserves at least one race ban if not more. So what it’s no big deal.
    But what Sir JYS said about Vettel’s behaviour was absolutely right. Continuing with a wheel hanging off was dangerous and dangerous for everyone trackside. The rule is there to protect everone’s safety. Hamilton’s on track behaviour was in no way dangerous.
    The reason and motives of the rules are what is important. The pedantic and forensic examination of the rules are not. Stewards should understand that and apply common sense.
    Arguably Vettel’s misdemeanour was far more serious an issue than the rather pathetic debacle that is McLaren and LH.

    JP

  50. Grabyrdy says:

    There’s a moment during the famous car-pit exchange when McL are saying, wait, hold station, we’re still trying to find Charlie, and Lewis says – too late, he’s gone by. We can only presume that Lewis was dithering around wondering what to do and Trulli took that as difficulties and went by, so with clear signs but no actual hand signal. Maybe McL are trying to use the Clinton defence – I did not have sex with that woman – splitting hairs.

    Perhaps if they’d only explained more clearly their reasoning, this would not have arisen. Perhaps if Lewis had said far more clearly, Trulli was OFF THE TRACK when I passed him, the incident would not have occurred. Whatever. McL doesn’t seem to do communication too well.

  51. MartinWR says:

    The WMSC have a really tricky decision on their hands in coming up with an appropriate punishment for the unseemly shenanigans in Oz.
    At first glance this was a far less significant piece of naughtiness than walking off with the full set of plans for a competitor’s operation, and then determinedly denying it up to the bitter end. And as to the lying, well as has been pointed out by other correspondents, quite possibly there are others who aren’t completely lily-white on the grid. However if there are, they are also not inclined to go to the quite insane lengths to rub the officials’ noses in their mendacity that McLaren are. Also, there are many who will interpret a significant fine or ban as another example of a wicked FAI bias against McLaren and corruption by the officials, which itself could greatly damage the sport.
    On the other hand how can officialdom possibly ignore what looks like an absolutely blatant breach of the Sporting Code provisions re “fraudulent conduct” (article 151c). And all this by a company with which they have already dealt severely just two years ago, and which doesn’t seem to have learned anything whatsoever from its previous experience. How do they also make it clear to others who might cheat that they will be severely punished as well, if they deal unduly leniently with these offenders?
    When a championship point rates as worth $1 million, that means that not only did McLaren gain by $1 million, but they knew they had so gained, and as four days had passed without owning up, they fully intended to keep what they had gained. That doesn’t look good, in fact you could even say it looks bad, not unreasonably. But there’s worse. As a consequence of the original stewards’ decision, Toyota were effectively denied points worth $6 million. McLaren knew perfectly well that this was the case, given the time that had elapsed, and said nothing to remedy the injustice. I suppose that you could almost argue that such is the almost unfathomable stupidity that their management team have demonstrated throughout, that maybe they were too thick to realise it! Well, not really.
    How do you come up with an appropriate punishment and at the same avoid damaging the substance and the integrity of the sport in the process? And how do you discourage a bunch of unreconstructed idiots from offending again and again?

  52. James M says:

    With the way they treated Dave Ryan, Mclaren are acting more like the Mafia than they are a motorsport team. This is shocking; how has it come to this?

  53. doctorvee says:

    James,

    Thanks for featuring my comment on your blog. Great to see such lively debate on this matter in the comments too. I agree that the word “ordinarily” is an eye-catching word, which I picked up on when I originally wrote about this on my blog.

    I have seen that there are some who question the validity of my point. A lot have said that Martin Whitmarsh didn’t need to mention the radio conversation because he wasn’t asked. But for me, the entire construction of Mr Whitmarsh’s answer is misleading and evasive. This is not just limited to the fact that he did not mention the radio conversation. In particular, the sentence, “Trulli then re-took the place under the Safety Car, which ordinarily you wouldn’t do,” looks totally disingenuous in light of what we now know.

    I say this as someone who has given McLaren the benefit of the doubt over the past few years whenever they have got into hot water with the FIA. For me, this is one transgression too far. I felt totally misled by his interview on the BBC, and I feel let down by the team as a whole.

    Like I said in my original comment, I just hope the FIA don’t go over the top with any punishment they had out. What McLaren did was stupid and, to some degree, fraudulent. But it was not downright dangerous like a certain man in a red car was from time to time.

    Thanks,
    Duncan

  54. P Jaxon says:

    People lose all sorts of perspective when rules are broken during sporting events. It’s pretty laughable.

    Is this any worse than a footballer diving in the box and winning an undeserved penalty?

    As far as I can tell Lewis behaved correctly during the race, and for a while afterward, if his post race interview is taken into account. What transpired after was a combination of ineptitude from both the FIA/stewards and the McLaren management, and if McLaren are accountable to the FIA/stewards, who are the FIA/stewards accountable to?

  55. Jake says:

    Duncan, I see your point, but Whitmarsh’s comments were factual, no matter how misleading they may seem in hindsight.

    If Whitmarsh had not been privy to the footage of Hamilton slowing, along with the accompanying radio conversation, then his comments to me make perfect sense. That is to me a reasonable statement to make, including the use of the word “ordinarily”, as the above scenario actually presumes Whitmarsh as being naive and ignorant to the inner machinations that had taken place during the closing stages of the race – a time when Whitmarsh may be repairing to the pits rather than watching the wind down of the last few laps.

    I’m just not sure the team as a whole (and Whitmarsh in particular) are able to think quickly enough to formulate such a carefully worded statement to the press so soon after the race.

    Further, on the passing of Hamilton by Trulli; yes it is apparent that Hamilton slowed a little which of course seems like an invite, but it also seems that Trulli gleefully sped past the McLaren only to then hastily reduce speed again once past, thus indicating to me that he eagerly took the place back, and perhaps intentionally sped up to do so, but either through feelings of immediate regret, or from a team order then slowed down.

    The slowing of the McLaren is not necessarily the ONLY reason Trulli went past Hamilton. Lets analyse Toyota’s radio comms and telemetry and we may then see a different perspective.

    Consider also the time it took Hamilton to respond to the command to allow Trulli past. There was a rather long pause before Hamilton – in my view – reluctantly said “ok”. To me this substantiates Hamilton’s apology later on. It really seemed to me he didn’t want a part of it, but he acquiesced in the heat of the race and followed team orders – as evidenced by his post race comment.

    This of course leaves Ryan and Hamilton carrying the baby. Hamilton can’t be sacked because he earns the money. Ryan of course can always be rehired a few races later, but for the moment he is conveniently untouchable, and not required to front the WMSC.

    But of course McLaren, due to their former indiscretions, are the only ones in the spotlight, while Toyota are hiding in the shadows lest they bring any attention to themselves.
    How long before McLaren are treated equally I wonder? And no, I’m not a McLaren fan, I’m a motorsport fan.
    Cheers,
    Jake

  56. ro says:

    Any sport with a surfeit of $$$’s will encourage the greedy and the ‘creative’, both as participants and administrators (and journalists?)

    F1 will die, though it may be long in its death-throes, and be replaced by something possessing a little more integrity and fun, for a while anyway.

    I hope you’re still around to write on its successor. I like your style :-)

  57. Steve Rodgers says:

    I was thinking yesterday that it seemed strange that both Whitmarsh and Hamilton went on mini vacations immediately after the Australian GP…. I mean, with the situation being what it is wouldn’t the time for mini breaks be err… not allowed just as the season starts? Or…is it perhaps a dog ate my homework excuse to take the heat off the team being seen to conspire together for the Truli 3rd place? I can’t help thinking that the idea of a mini break with the season just underway for the obsessed F1 folk in the teams would be seen as ridiculous…that’d be the equivalent of putting in for leave during the go-live week of a new software product… wouldn’t it?

  58. Harshwit says:

    People seem to have missed something about the BBC Whitmarsh interview post Melbourne race.
    After Ted has asked for clarification as to what happened during the safety car period, Whitmarsh gives his explanation, and Ted follows up with; ‘You would normally expect Lewis to be given that place and it could be six points(for third place)’,
    Whitmarsh replies ‘We would, that’s our position at the moment, and we’ll see what happens in the coming minutes and hours’
    That looks like a blatant declaration of the intention to hold the stance that Trulli took the position unlawfully, and a deliberate decision to omit the information that Lewis had forced him to pass.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/motorsport/formula_one/7970546.stm

  59. Ian says:

    Good point HR!

  60. Nick Lynn says:

    Bravo HR, a good observation. I seem to recall also that in the McLaren radio transmissions when they were discussing whether Lewis should let Trulli pass, he replied to them that Trulli had already gone by.

    I wonder on what ‘rules’ of evidence this hearing works – we can speculate endlessly about what was meant and what said and where and when – but even on a balance of probablities some of this stuff is wholly ambiguous.

  61. monktonnik says:

    A valid point HR. I think it is fair to say that any team in F1 will do whatever they can to get a single point.

    For me this highlights the fact that the teams don’t really understand the safety car rules, and that the FIA and the stewards need to give Charlie Whiting more support during these periods as this all should have been cleared up before the end of the race. In fact what where the stewards doing whilst this question was raised?

    Every car has an on board camera and we have radio transmission being recorded if not monitored. They really should have assessed the evidence completely before meeting with the teams, and in any case before handing out a penalty to Trulli. Maclaren clearly lied and it wasn’t in Trulli’s best interests to be entirely frank about the reason he was passed in the first place, but if the stewards had actually done their job in the first place this wouldn’t have gone this far.

    Is it time to suggest again that we have permanent stewards at every event?

  62. Luciano says:

    I don’t see any problem with what Trulli has said. He has not said in the quote you’ve given that Lewis was wrong to overtake him, it’s just a factual statement. Why should he mention he was off track?

    Nothing disingenuous there.

    As for the ambiguity of McLaren Statements that Nick alludes to, McLaren have fully admitted that Lewis and Ryan have ‘mis-led’ the stewards. Not much ambiguity there. Only question is was this a team instruction or Ryan acting on his own.

  63. Ashutosh Karkhanis says:

    I agree to a degree with the Ron thing. Remember, had Ron not gone to the FIA on the spygate, Alonso would have. That would have been ever worse. So i think that was calculated damage limitation as well.

  64. MartinWR says:

    A vivid picture is now emerging of Ryan and LH woodenly spouting their prepared lines like rather expensive ventriloquists’ dummies, presumably with MW or RD manipulaing them by remote control, at the same time as they listened to the recordings which simultaneously proved conclusively that they were lying through their teeth!
    Bizarre. Totally bizarre. You couldn’t make it up if you tried. Were the stewards gobsmacked? You bet, wouldn’t you be?
    Well, they’re going to pay the price for it.
    Er, where did I get that from? I, meant to say Ryan’s going to pay the price, for both of them, with his job and his reputation.
    Wonder Boy, well that’s a different matter. I guess he long ago soared effortlessly above the sport that spawned him, and above the Sporting Code, and won’t even have to cry: “Nuremberg defence, please sir!”, before the WMSC court, because they’ve already done it for him, as near as makes no difference.

  65. Pete says:

    Well there are a lot of people that think FIA is just FIAT with the T removed. I visit a lot of F1 forums and you wouldn’t believe some of the conspiracy theories that fly around. How some of these “fans” have not been shoved into padded cells for delusional paranoia is beyond me.

    Examples of “conspiracy”:

    When McLaren were caught in Spygate, according to some people it was a conspiracy by the FIA to give Ferrari the championship. Ferrari apparently gave McLaren the documents to deliberately get them in trouble.

    When Kimi won the WDC in 2007 it was because the FIA deliberately sabotaged Lewis tires in the Chinese GP and his gearbox in Brazil to help give Ferrari another WDC.

    When Lewis drove into the back of Kimi in Canada and was punished for it, it was somehow favoritism of Kimi by the FIA. (even though Lewis should have been more careful exiting the pits)

    When Lewis cut the chicane at the bus-stop in Spa and was stripped of the win it was an FIA conspiracy to help Massa win the championship. (even though the rules clearly stated that the drivers can use only the track for passing)

    Even now, with evidence mounting against McLaren and Lewis, there are people who are insisting that they were framed and the punishment they get will be not because McLaren did wrong, but rather to help Ferrari win the WDC.

    There are some really pathetic and paranoid people out there!

  66. Martin P says:

    Ashutosh – you’re talking complete and utter TOSH (Pun intended).

    What possible reason can you have to insult Sir Jackie or drag his name into this debate? Similarly, what has Ferrari got to do with this particular issue?

    Many people suggest an FIA bias towards Ferrari – which is perfectly understandable. Formula 1 is a business, Ferrari is the single biggest long term draw and the FIA’s most enduring partner in providing the spectacle. Of course there’s a deep affinity and inter-dependency there and that status is reflected in the distribution of revenue and a somewhat larger “seat” at the virtual table. The FIA, Ferrari and all others teams are completely aware of the reality of that situation. It’s a fact of doing business in Formula 1.

    I’m also not sure why you think British fans are launching a blind defence of either Lewis or McLaren. The British press have been impressively forensic in their coverage of this story so far and I’ve read very little defensive comment.

    Make your point by all means – but needless insults will just blur it beyond all meaning.

    [ I allowed the comment by Ashutosh to go through even though on the surface it appeared to injure both the rules & spirit of this blog. It seemed appropriate to allow at least one show of frustration -- even if intemperate -- from someone who has come to experience F1 as somewhat of a British preserve, because he is not alone. Moreover, I had faith that a reasoned challenge to it would be made soon enough by one of our contributors. I am delighted I did not have to wait long.

    Moving forward, however, I would take this opportunity to notify those who like Ashutosh might be tempted to post unsubstantiated and poorly reasoned personal attacks, that their contributions are unlikely to be published - Moderator ]

  67. Mark says:

    Ashutosh,

    I don’t think there are many British people, myself included, who would defend what McLaren/it’s team members did. Certainly in the press I haven’t seen much of a defense. I can’t think of one either. What is being discussed is who else other than Ryan and Hamilton might have been involved?

  68. Lee Gilbert says:

    Dave Ryan will not have to appear in front of the FIA – as he is no longer an employee of McClaren and is unlikely to want to pursue his career with another team (given his age). The FIA will in his absence probably impose some sanction on him ever working in the sport again but Ryan will not care….

    ….did you not see the reply post on the Good Week / Bad Week story about a good week for Dave Ryan’s bank account! (read into that what you need!!)

  69. Stephen Kellett says:

    I wonder if Dave Ryan will want to appear in front of the stewards, could be interesting.

    There is probably a very watertight gagging order in his settlement deal with McLaren.

    It he talks he’ll most likely be sued for breach of contract with McLaren.

    If McLaren didn’t sew that side of things up neatly they’d really be in trouble.

  70. Geoff says:

    Or perhaps just the most investigated…

  71. Martin P says:

    Was Vettel’s bollock cooling device not enough for you?

    It’s a fair point though. I must confess I’m fascinated by how this story is evolving and while I don’t want less about it, I do want more about what else is going on. But clearly one man can only focus on one thing at once unless he gives up on sleep to satisfy us.

    Give it a few more days though and I suspect the pages will be filled with diffuser-gate and the rantings of Flavio Briatore.

  72. Stephen Kellett says:

    No, you’ll wake up and find out that 2009 was just a dream and that Bobby didn’t die after all.

    Thats a rather poor “Dallas” reference in there somewhere.
    Anyone remember that bizarre year long thing, just erased with a poor script writer’s draft?

  73. Pete says:

    I never actually noticed the insult towars Sir Jackie. Probably because I go around a lot of different F1 forums and I’ve got a built in insult censor now.

    I do understand where people come from with the “FIA favour Ferrari” thing. Lets face it Schumacher when he was driving for Ferrari got away with a lot. But on the flip-sde of this was the fact that the rules were often changed (most notably the scoring system) to stop Schumacher and Ferrari running away with the WDC/WCC when they had a totally dominant car.

    As for the McLaren/Lewis thing and lying spying and jumpich chicanes. I think they’ve really only got themselves to blame for it all. The rules are there to be adhered to and if they break them then they should expect to be punished. That being said, I would also expect the punishemt to reflect the crime and not be overly harsh.

  74. Pete says:

    Sorry I clicked the wrong reply… I was replying to Martin P’s post *ahem*

  75. Cliff says:

    What a load of rubbish. In the business that I work in, we call the Vettel, webber accident, Undue care and attention!

  76. Alastair says:

    While on the subject of Alonso in 2007, don’t forget that he and Pedro De la Rosa were up to some pretty serious cheating, using text messages from Nigel Stepney detailing Ferrari pit stop strategy, etc.

  77. Joss says:

    Just to add to your point, James, that it would have been more than a rogue employee + LH aware of the lie…. many people in the team listen on to the radio transmissio during the race and would have heard the conversation, so they would have known that the position was given back to Trulli rather than Trulli illegally regaining it…

  78. jw1980 says:

    James Allen raises the issue that Lewis Hamilton and McLaren could be banned for a number of races. I sense that many people are excited by this prospect. In all of the post race analysis one sector of the sport that is being forgottern are the fans. I have been to many gps but in recent years have only attended the British GP. The reason for this is the risk of a huge outlay of money being a waste. Consider the Belgian GP last year – a classic ruined by the stewards’ decisions; Malaysia this year stopped early, and drivers/teams possibly being banned from races. If I was a McLaren employee right now I would be nervous about my future job prospects. After everyone worked so hard to ensure that Brawn were on the grid for 2009 surely the sport does not want to lose McLaren? I would not be at all suprised if either Renault or Toyota pulled out of F1 at the end of the year so any potential new teams would be merely replacing those that are leaving. McLaren are at fault for what happened in the Australian GP (with LH) no doubt. However, they have received their punishment (disqualifiction and terrible publicity). (At the court case for the Belgian GP last year was Charlie Whiting not considered to be misleading when giving evidence? This is a side point).
    As a final point if LH was to be banned for a number of races (likely to be May) he could consider entering the Indy 500. Publicity generated by this would probably far outweigh anything F1 could offer this season and although the race probably does not hold the same appeal as in years gone by a good result would still look great on anyone’s c.v. Bernie Ecclestone should take note before making comments on the upcoming WMSC review.
    By the way this is a fantastic blog. It’s much better than others where to say the least the thoughts and views of many of the participants are pretty extreme and ridiculous!

  79. Stephen Kellett says:

    It means he is subordinate to the CEO.
    He does not get to brief (tell) the CEO what to do.

    Advise, yes. Tell, no.

  80. Stephen Kellett says:

    Continuing with a wheel hanging off was dangerous and dangerous for everyone trackside.

    Red Bull team should have been on the radio ordering him to either stop or bring the car in, whichever the rule book specifies. No radio transmissions for this one?

  81. Stephen Kellett says:

    Ah but he did have sex with that woman, oral sex. If he’d used the word intercourse he would have told the truth. He wasn’t splitting hairs, he was being disingenuous.

  82. Stephen Kellett says:

    Dear Mr Moderator,

    Can we have a points system where posters get award points for the wonderfulness of the language used. The posting above contains the word “mendacity”, a word you don’t see used that often. We could have a league table of effective word use.

    Yes I’m off topic, but this blog, in the replies at least, contains some of the weirdest poor spellings (not typos) and also some excellent use of language, which sadly we see too little of these days.

    Maybe its the Claret, or the time of day. Seems like a harmless fun idea on the side.

    +3 for mendacity and -1 for poor formatting :-)

    and good analysis of how much money is at stake with these points, especially for Toyota.

  83. The Durrant says:

    I agree with JK here. You’re starting to read too much into cautiously worded statements.

  84. ROBATCLAXBY says:

    Pete. I think you will find that most LH/Macca Fans abore the goings on in the Maclaren team as much and probably more than non M/Fans, and we feel that we have been badly let down over the past weeks revelations, and want justice, not only done, but to be SEEN to be done.! ! !. but also every team treated on an equal basis, without massaging decisions to enhance the fortunes of certain individuals, and create last race WDCs,
    as it’s all smoke and mirrors at the moment, and ruinous of a good sporting spectacle.

  85. Peter Freeman says:

    You fail to mention that at Spa Hamilton was interviewed by Ferrari’s business associate, Allan Donnelly, or that Kimmi drove about 5 miles of the race off the track but not a word was said about him! Or that in the history of F1 no such penalty has ever been levied on any other driver…

    If going of the track was an inherently penalised offense then why was Trulli not immediately and automatically penalised in Australia?

    You also fail to mention that when Ferrari released Massa directly into Sutil in Valencia, the very clear rules declaring such a release as being unsafe and illegal were somehow not applied and ‘some how’ no penalty was given.

    It is inherently wrong that a man who has been in business with Ferrari is placed in charge of ‘overseeing’ the stewards. Such a move can only cast a bad light over the FIA and the decisions that the stewards come to concerning Ferrari or Ferrari’s opposition. Spa and Valencia are clear examples of how this just looks like utter dishonesty.

  86. MartinWR says:

    Stephen, many thanks for awarding me an overall total of +2 points, and I hope I can aspire to even greater heights when I get into serious training for your proposed championship. It’s a good beginning though and I’m off to a head start.
    In recognition of your services to Formula One I have decided formally to award (without splitting the infinitive) you a total of +5 points, with a provisional deduction of a point for formatting (double spacing between paragraphs) to be rescinded on future good conduct.
    I am surprised though that you thought that “mendacity” occurs infrequently.
    I find myself using it far too often in the McLaren context.
    Anyway, long live pedantry.

  87. JEFF says:

    that is semantics.
    the ceo would not expect to over rule the sporting director on sporting matters, even though he has powers to do so.
    you would also not expect the ceo to be as aware of the whole picture as the sporting director. He does not get briefed as to what to say on sporting matters by the ceo. quite the reverse, the ceo gets briefed by the SD.

  88. Peter Freeman says:

    Dude Ferrari have a business associate in the stewards box who ‘oversees’ the stewards and gets to ask Ferrari’s opposition difficult questions before they get penalised etc!

    biggest or worst (not sure which) liars in F1? Who is this?

  89. Peter Freeman says:

    I think the ruling that Renaults mass damper was actually an aerodynamic device kind of spelled out for me that none of the bodies within any F1 circles are actually independent.

    It was also very clear to me that the ‘powers that be’ had deemed a final championship for Schumacher was in their best interests and so when they suddenly banned the hither-till-then perfectly legal mass damper I for one was convinced that commercial interests and not sporting fairness was being pursued.

    The fact that the ‘independent’ court of appeal upheld the [.. ]notion that a device that lived inside the nose of the car and had no air movement over it what so ever was somehow an [aero] device after all was proof enough to me that the court was not independent at all and I for one felt the decision was predetermined before the court sat.

    So I personally would not think for one second that the WMSC will be making a single decision or finding. It is my opinion that the results of the ‘hearing’ will be decided before hand and presented as a finding and a conclusion no matter what evidence is presented on the day.

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