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Reaction to McLaren verdict
Posted By:   |  29 Apr 2009   |  4:54 pm GMT  |  0 comments

Today’s verdict by the World Motor Sport Council to issue a three race ban for McLaren, but to suspend it for 12 months has received a fairly balanced reaction.

Given the original incident, where Trulli was allowed to pass Hamilton behind the safety car in Melbourne, what happened in the stewards’ room there and in Kuala Lumpur and what has transpired since with McLaren going out of its way to demonstrate that it has accepted mistakes were made and changed the governance of the team, this is a well balanced and light judgement. To go further would have been excessive.

McLaren pleaded guilty and the human cost at the team has been very high, with the departure of Ron Dennis, the architect of McLaren’s success and of Dave Ryan, one of its most dilligent and loyal employees for over 35 years. Lewis Hamilton has taken a huge blow to his prestige and integrity, which will take many years to redress. No doubt many of the team’s major sponsors have been in contact expressing concern that the team’s questionable sporting integrity might damage their brands by association.

FIA president Max Mosley saw no need to labour the point on this matter and said he was satisfied that a real and lasting change had been made at McLaren with the departure of Dennis and the appointment of a new chairman, a captain of industry, Richard Lapthorne.

Mosley said, “In the end there were decisions taken by the people who are no longer involved. That being the case, it would have been unfair to go on with the matter.

“We think it’s entirely fair. They’ve demonstrated there’s a complete culture change and under those circumstances it’s better to put the whole thing behind us.

“Unless they do something similar, that’s the end of the matter.”

Mosley suggested that the decision to lie to the stewards in Melbourne and to continue the deceit in Malaysia was down to sporting director Dave Ryan and implied that the FIA felt Dennis had been involved. Although Whitmarsh told journalists in Malaysia that no-one more senior than Ryan had been involved in the matter and Dennis strenously denied that his decision to move away from the race team had anything to do with the case, the implication in Mosley’s words is that he feels he was involved.

The press attending that conference at which Dennis made his announcement on April 16th was notably light on F1 journalists, they were either general media or media from the motoring side and those who were there were not fully aware of the facts of this case, so did not question Dennis as rigorously on the F1 side as they might have done.

Mosley added that he was impressed with the attitude of team principal Martin Whitmarsh and the way he has conducted himself since the controversy.

“Martin Whitmarsh made a very good impression,” said Mosley. “He’s straightforward and wants to work with us. We’re all trying to do the same thing, which is make the championship successful. Martin fully understands that and we reacted accordingly.”

McLaren team boss Whitmarsh said, “I would like to thank the FIA World Motor Sport Council members for affording me the opportunity to answer their questions this morning,” said Whitmarsh.

“We are aware that we made serious mistakes in Australia and Malaysia, and I was therefore very glad to be able to apologise for those mistakes once again.”

Compared to Dennis, Whitmarsh is a very uncomplicated man with a light touch and he has decided to go the non-confrontational route with the FIA, something Dennis could not contemplate. How that leaves him and the team in the future will be interesting to watch.

As will his reaction to the budget cap, which is likely to be announced tomorrow.

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  1. JJBOYNC says:

    Personally I think the punishment is a joke. If it was any other team that didn’t have the current World Champion driving for them, they would have gotten much worse.

  2. Mattw says:

    It is me, or are there shades of the first hearing in the spying scandal?

    “Unless they do something similar, that’s the end of the matter.”

    Lets just hope this one doesn’t come back again – at the moment the judgement of the FIA – the suspended 3 race ban, in addition to the disqualification from the Aus GP seems to be balanced and proportionate.

    With this, and the Diffuser decision, the FIA seem to be getting thing right at last.

  3. tom says:

    surely james mclrean would not sign up to the budget cap they would have to lay off most of their staff and facilities to meet the requirments???

  4. George says:

    Well McLaren will certainly have their tails between their legs this year, I dont imagine they will be protesting much about the incoming budget cap.

  5. knoxploration says:

    The punishment is effectively nada. Ryan continues to be a scapegoat for decisions others were aware of, and the cover up (read: lying) that has continued from McLaren since then hasn’t abated – we’ve still had no public acknowledgement that anybody except Hamilton and Ryan was involved.

    This is a decision made for commercial reasons, not sporting ones.

  6. Andrew says:

    The decision seems to fair to me. Punishing someone (again) who is making every attempt to rehabilitate themselves simply puts down those efforts and encourages bitterness and future transgressions.

    They are on warning to be good, but the way the FIA have judged this seems right to me.

  7. Darkstomper says:

    Well I think it is a reasonable outcome. The bad publicity, staff shake ups etc is enough in my view, let’s get our focus back on the racing.

    They did wrong, admitted it and they have suffered – end of.

    McLaren are my favourite team, they have gone down in my estimations (again), but they will bounce back.

    Roll on the next GP!

  8. Darkstomper says:

    James: Can you tell me what Louise Goodman is up to these days? I am Missing her inputs!

    Love the site.. keep up the good work.

  9. Tom says:

    Michael Schumacher wasn’t a current World Champion when he lied about that little off during qualifying Monaco 2006.

    Max is a wannabe politician and so his decisions are always likely to be for political reasons.

    I think it’s as simple as this, the FIA now need Mclaren (or more importantly Mercedes) because Ferrari don’t seem to be supporting the FIA in the way that they once were.

    Mercedes power three teams on the gird, that counts for something. They already rescued brawn who were abandoned by Ferrari.

    Next year there will be a standard KERS unit which is likely to be a Mclaren unit, the FIA can’t back down on KERS so a standard unit is likely to be the way forward.

    The budget cap is opposed by Ferrari so again the FIA will need Mclaren to force a comprise through.

    Its the same divide and conquer technique that the FIA have used for years to get what they want, no surprises here.

  10. CraigH says:

    James, firstly, great site – Just wondering if you felt Max had a personal vendetta against Ron Dennis and if it might be because he believes Ron was involved in the news paper exposé last year?

  11. Peter Freeman says:

    I for one think grave injustice has been done to McLaren and that the FIA owe them and the F1 community as well as the public, an apology.

    In Monaco in 2006, Ferrari and their driver Michael Schumacher, cheated and then lied to the stewards and the FIA. They were found guilty of both offenses and given a grid penalty. They were allowed to race and score points, that race.

    There was no second stewards meeting, no WMSC invitation, no disqualification, no team personnel being dismissed or resigning, no talk of fines or race banns or season disqualification. Just a grid penalty.

    According to the FIA in 2006, cheating and lying to the stewards is worth a grind penalty.

    Therefore the correct ruling here, according the standards set by the FIA in 2006, Lewis Hamilton should be given a grid penalty in the next race, his 4th place in Australia should be restored, Dave Ryan should be given his job back and the FIA should be apologising for their inconsistent conduct and application of the rules.

    Why is this offense so very different to what MSC and Ferrari did in Monaco in 2006? I don’t get it.

  12. Snowman says:

    Looks like Martin is now beating Ferrari at their own game at sucking up to the people behind the scenes. Great decision for everyone, this is already one of the best seasons on the track in years. Well done Martin for keeping it together, I’m not sure about Ron’s hand in the scandal, or did Ron’s passion to win overcome his renowned attention to detail!

    Martin is going to be good for the McLaren – in recent years even with the best equipment and drivers, you still felt they were the underdogs. I think we are on the verge of seeing what McLaren can REALLY achieve!

  13. Phill says:

    JJBOYNC, if it was anyone else then nothing further would happened after the disqualification from the race. FIA hate McLaren so they made a big issue about it.

  14. Amrit Raj says:

    I feel that Ron Dennis’ decision to quit had nothing to do with the incident in Australia. To think that a man of Dennis’ stature, notwithstanding he was the Chairman and CEO of the group, has been “removed” by the board stretches logic to breaking point. Personally, it is very disheartning to see that someone, who has dedicated his entire life to a profession, is assumed to be bumped-off the very pedastal he has created.

  15. Yet again Max Mosely finds a way to blame Ron Dennis.

    Does he despise him so much that he is prepared to persecute McLaren relentlessky until he’s driven him out of F1 forever?

    Quite clearly the answer is yes.

  16. Jeff says:

    Giving a suspended sentence for perjury is a joke. Especially when you do that to rob a competitor’s point and money. With all the evidence available, there is no doubt that it was intentional. A 3 race ban would have been appropriate punishment. But again the FIA is mindful of the championship and they don’t want to upset Hamilton’s chances. If Adrian Sutil and ForceIndia were in the same situation, the outcome would have been different.

  17. Gilraen says:

    At what prize I ask you did we receive this suspended penalty. (Not to let any doubt as to where my allegience lies :-) )
    Loyal, dedicated Dave Ryan made a big mistake and paid the ultimate prize: being sacked by Whitmarsh.
    Dennis, no matter what your personal opinion is of the man, built this team and company and was sacrificed too.
    And the one that also lied? Twice? He escaped. For now.

    Was it necessary? Yes, because the team and the ’08 WDC needed to be protected, whether anyone likes it or not. That’s the name of the business and F1 game.

    A new culture at McLaren? Of cocktails and breakfasts?
    A 180 degree change? So much for loyalty…. I reserve my opinion. Whitmarsh may not be as complicated as Ron Dennis is, but whether this sucking up to the FIA is the way forward, I tend to disagree with. But time will tell.

    @Ron Dennis: be well, have great business success with McLaren Automotive, but most of all be happy.

  18. Matt T says:

    @jjboync Lewis and the team have already been punished for the offence. Why do it again?

    Mosley got his nemesis out of F1 so he’s happy

  19. Grabyrdy says:

    This has nothing to do with the facts of the case. It’s all about Max v Ron. What Max says is revealing – he’d like to heap all the blame on Ron for what went on (on no evidence, as far as anyone knows – right James ? ) and he’s now seen the back of him. Squalid is the word that comes to mind.

  20. Retro says:

    There wasn’t any punishment at all in this joke.
    Ryan And Dennis leaving McLaren should have been only McLaren own business and shouldn’t have made any difference to this penalty.

    Now World Champion didn’t get any penalty for lying twice. McLaren and Hamilton “we are innocent” bs did look like dmg control and that it was at it’s best. Hamilton knows how to suck that arse like he did in 2007 to get immunity.

    Now only thing worst is that Hamilton will win 2009 WDC and then F1 is huge joke. Where lying will not mean anything and all that matters is money..

    Lying to judges and getting other team to suffer is now completely free of any penalty for any other team also. You get more penalty from driving over speed limit in pitlane or driving slowly ahead during other drivers hotlap.

    FIA needs balls and sadly they seem to have lost them to 4ever.

  21. Fastlap says:

    @JJBOYNC Unless of course it’s Ferrari, yeah?

  22. PaulL says:

    I’m no lover of McLaren, but the outcome of the hearing is a fairly good one.

    The manner in which McLaren tried to minimise what they’d done at the spy case did not render them a sympathetic verdict, that was just in my view because they had breached something significantly. At least in this they have taken responsibility and are committed to changing some things.
    F1 is, as Brundle said, about the right characters to a certain extent, and I think now at least people can no longer argue that Hamilton detractors are only jaundiced.

  23. Tommy Karamin says:

    I think that all this had been blown out of proportion. At the same race, (Australia 09) Toyota and presumably Trulli and Glock and everybody in the team, LIED as well! They were using illegal rear wings in qualifying in order to gain an advantage. All they got was a grid penalty for the race. BUT THEY LIED! And if the stewards didn’t find out about it, everybody at Toyota would be happy….Nobody can convince me that they didn’t have a clue about it…So, why all the fuss for what McLaren did?? That’s racing. Always has been. The decision was extremely harsh for McLaren but it’s all in the past now and everybody should focus on racing!

  24. Leftie says:

    I guess many of you guys didn’t realise the difference between Melbourne ’09 and Monaco ’06 cases

    In Monaco there was no actual proof that Michael DID deliberately stopped on track to prevent others from improving their laptimes. Stewards BELIEVED that this was not driver’s error, but they were unable to prove it in any way. They had an explanation from Michael and team staff, they reviewed telemetry and radio transitions, but there was absolutely no clear evidence.

    In Melbourne the proofs were everywhere. Radio, TV, stewards meeting. It was plain and simple.

    That’s the difference.

  25. Rich says:

    I agree with Peter Freeman’s earlier response. And I find it outrageous that peoples lives have been so negatively impacted by such a trivial incident. If F1 has in any way been brought into disrepute by the recent past, I would say it has been by the actions of Max Mosley, the FIA and the the Architect of Formula 1. (He who must not be named.) While delighted to see Brawns continuing success at Bahrain – maybe Honda should buy advertising space on the car? – too bad that F1 continues to be such a poor show on the track. It was great to see wonderful actual racing(!) displayed during the World Superbike meeting at Assen this past weekend.

  26. Now that McClaren have had a yellow card I’m sure Ferrari won’t rest until it’s a red card.
    I know politics is, and always will be, a major part of F1 but I’d hate to see it go the way of football where playing to the ref is sometimes more important than playing the game.
    I still don’t understand how/why Mr Mosely still has a job in F1 – it’s very hard to see the positive effect he brings to it and the fact that anybody would respect his personal opinion of F1 people is a complete joke.

  27. PaulL says:

    Interesting James, Ron Dennis proclaims his high value on integrity and was verbally sensitive about it when it was reported to have been questioned by Mosley over the spy affair in 07.
    Do you think he really was party to the lie in Australia?

  28. Jeff Pappone says:

    Three points here that need to be addressed.

    First, comparing this to Schumacher’s Monaco incident is invalid. Schumacher’s transgression did not include withholding information that saw another driver disqualified from a podium finish. Remember that Hamilton and Ryan stuck with their story even after the FIA proved it was false.

    Second, after the spygate affair, didn’t McLaren say it would make the necessary culture changes to ensure this would not happen again? Seems that culture of selective memory of events and who knew what when continued at the team’s HQ.

    And, third, and most important, at the time of his stunt, Schumacher did not just come off one of the biggest cheating scandals in recent memory which threw the entire sport into disrepute.

    IMHO, this was worse than the BAR-Honda 2005 San Marino incident, where the team was banned for two races because someone said the tank was empty when it wasn’t. And the ban was imposed despite the fact that BAR demonstrated to the FIA that the cars never ran underweight in the race.

    In essence, BAR was punished for lying about being able to cheat, whereas McLaren was not punished for lying about cheating. And that doesn’t make much sense.

  29. Ricardo Gianvilla says:

    15 years ago today Roalnd Ratzenberger died at Imola. Lets talk about something that matters.

  30. Mike Monji says:

    Does anyone has a clue of when Max Mosley and Bernie are going to leave the sport? How would it look after?

  31. Retro says:

    DQ’s in Australia was quite minor penalty for the team and driver because we have seen a lot worst than that from even minor things.

    I think 2007 things should have made bigger impact in this “liegate” because evidence was there and you could easily made bigger warning to all others. Now every1 thinks that it’s ok to try to lie.

    What i want to see now is McLaren really take control of Lewis. No more bs, no more playing solo because that was the problem twice and covering it cost 2 people and Dennis leaving was only thing Max really wanted. So FIA decision was way too personal.

    Ok they did change the attitude in team with withmarsh but have they really changed or did they learn from their mistake. Going solo to there was quite much “We know that you can’t do nothing to us”-attitude and why Ryan wasn’t allowed to say anything. It just leave as bad influence as did in 2007 all that covering up.

    Now we have to think whole F1 is as corrupted and full of lies. You can’t trust in FIA, not in teams or some drivers. It’s like Wrestling everything is already decided and all we can see is the entertainment.

    And why even do this “extra” court because the penalty wasn’t changed from previous one. I don’t think McLaren is that stupid to let Ryan talk within 12 months or do it same things again?

  32. Owen Rowley says:

    In my view, McLaren got a slap on the wrist – I completely disagree with the penalty yet I have to commend how brilliantly Matt Bishop and the Macca PR machine has handled this.

    The thing I find most ridiculous is the FIA citing the open and honest way Whitmarsh addressed the World Council and that there has been a changed the culture. What else could McLaren do? Macca were smart enough to realize they couldn’t do anything else other than repeatedly apologize / grovel publically for 3 weeks, and it worked. It also was effective to make Dave Ryan the fall guy for Lewis and Ron Dennis the fall guy for Whitmarsh. The public became sympathetic to both Hamilton Whitmarsh, and the Word Council knew this.

    It was also a stroke of luck that Daimler announced such poor financial results before the World Council meeting – or maybe well-orchestrated by Bernie?

    I’m a big fan of F1 and McLaren but let’s be clear – they acted dishonestly and then came clean for the same reason – to preserve their own self-interest. Time will tell whether there is a new moral culture.

    James, great website and thank-you for the opportunity to share.

  33. Mark says:

    I’m pleased that the Mclaren’s punishment isn’t crippling, it would have just done even more damage to the sport. I think the punishment is enough, apart from the lost Australian points there has been huge damage done to Mclaren’s and Hamilton’s reputations.

    What we are still missing, however, is any explanation of who exactly within Mclaren knew what and when. I find that disappointing as my opinion of Ron Dennis and Lewis Hamilton has been affected by what I *think* happened, based on speculation, rather than any investigated and revealed facts.

  34. Mon Pen says:

    IMHO McLaren panicked on the spur of the moment because they thought they had messed up. Thanks to not receiving clear guidance from the stewards and thanks, let’s not forget, that under a safety car Trulli shouldn’t have been driving carelessly enough to go off in the first place. (Didn’t Button do it in his rookie year?)

    And I cannot believe that some are still arguing that MS’s “little off” at Monaco was anything other than an utter cheat. (I was there :0) – even the Tifosi booed) And of course Ferrari backed him to the hilt, they’d been making each other massively successful and just showed loyalty to a driver that dragged them out of the doldrums.

  35. jed says:

    This verdict does not bring justice and therefore unfair.
    Mclaren are repeat offenders. They admitted guilt only after there was clear and irrefutable evidence against them. Before any evidence against them was presented they vehemently denied everything. Thus, mclaren’s plea of guilt cannot be considered a mitigating circumstance whereas their being repeat offenders is an aggravating circumstance.

    The WMSC just set a dangerous precedent with this ruling….If you cheat and get caught just plead guilty before the hearing then you are off the hook.

    Mclaren won the 84 world championship by using illegal fuel.

    Mclaren is the team that has cheated the most.

    Somehow they have good “spin doctors” that give the public the perception that the FIA are against them. And this time the FIA fell hook line and sinker to them.

  36. MartinWR says:

    Disastrous. A truly awful politically determined decision which undermines the whole basis of regulation of the sport for the future. If Mclaren can get away scot free with blatant cheating and lying, and for the fraud that resulted, how can any team ever now be fairly penalised for far lesser offences on the track?

    There was always a very simple solution and that was for those who lied to lose their jobs. That did indeed happen to one of them, as we know, when Dave Ryan was scapegoated and was made the fall guy. However when the principal liar and cheat is apparently above the sport and any form of punishment, the inevitable result is an unedifying whitewash which makes the sport a laughing stock (yet again).

  37. jed says:

    I fairness to the FIA, except for this case, they have not imposed heavy penalties when the did not have clear and convincing evidence of fact.
    When there was no evidence against mclaren in spygate they intially let mclaren go with a warning, although at that time it was clear that the ferrari documents somehow reached mclaren but there were no evidence of fact on how they obtained it and whether or not they used it. When there was evidence of fact available courtesy of alonso, they convicted mclaren.
    The shumy incident in monaco, there was no evidence of fact although one may conclude that it was deliberate, BUT, no clear and convicing evidence of fact.
    Liargate on the other hand has evidence of fact from the radio transcripts and lewis’ confession, therefore a heavy punishment is in order.
    There is a big difference from evidence of fact and a mere conclusion

  38. Carolyn says:

    One thing I have never seen addressed in all this…

    The entire debacle happened because McLaren requested information from race control (do we need to let Trulli back through or not?) and never got it during the race.

    Why is that allowed to happen?

    I can’t think of another sport where it does.

    I know, I know…. Charlie’s busy. He can have an assistant can’t he? (Even with cost caps, it’s cheaper than going to court…)

    I know that the teams – and drivers – should know the rule book, and generally they do. However, complicated situations that are not neatly described by the rule book will always arise, and the Stewards’ and FIA’s variable responses to similar scenarios show that the rules are VERY open to interpretation.

    Surely then the FIA has a responsibility to ensure that the teams can have a rapid response to rule clarification requests?
    (Especially as it is determined to regulate every last thing in F1!).

    You could say that to not do so brings the sport into disrepute… In fact, given how this year has gone so far, I’d say it already has.

  39. Raelene says:

    You know that McLaren admitted lying…and more than once.

    No matter what we think about Monaco (and I too think MS lied – and I;m a fan) – it’s totally different as IT COULD NOT BE PROVEN

    The McLaren lie could easily be proven – and it was admitted.

    I believe the first lie was a DR/LH lie, but no way did RD or MW not know about it before the second lie happened in Malaysia….

    McLaren did what they did in the spy case – plead guilty, apologised and took the penalty. This time IMO it was obviously an agreed penalty – and fair enough. McLaren were smart – in both cases the investigation stopped…and no none of us will know how far either transgressions really went… just what McLaren want. (as would any other team)

  40. Mattw says:

    It was any other team, would it have gone this far?

  41. danf1 says:

    Actually, usually the FIA are accused of being too hard on McLaren. I think that for once we have seen a fair judgement.

    If it were any other team, I beleive that the punishment may have even been much less controvercial – in fact it would probably have been dealt with by some sort of race based punishment like a grid penatly, but as it was McLaren we have ended up in court!

  42. Neilius says:

    I know why ‘BOY’ is in your name. You clearly do not have a clue, if this had been another team then the matter would be long forgotten already, especially Ferrari.

    Remember Monaco where Schumacher cheated and lied time after time when it was obviously a deliberate attempt to block his championship rivals (Alonso) from getting pole! His punishment was…. start at the back of the grid and leave it at that!

    Same offence = cheating and lying.

    Punishment = Sod all for Ferrari, Mclaren disqualified + humilated with several high ranking men losing there positions after many years of service, a damaged reputation for the sports biggest star and best driver and a suspended sentence.

    Now if you compare the two punishments, people will see your comment to be nothing more than the ramblings of an uneducated and very stupid ‘boy’.

    Case closed…

  43. sldsmkd says:

    I personally think the circus around this was a joke. If it was any other team, then it would have been buried and forgotten.

    I’m glad it’s buried, the whole issue was stupid – and all the teams do the same race in, race out.

    Let’s get back to racing.

  44. rdw says:

    Any other team?

    That’s ridiculous. If it were any other team this issue would have died in Australia. This whole mess was initiated by the persecution of McLaren by the FIA. No other team would have tried so hard to redress the safety car situation in Australia. If it had been “any other team” they would have stayed thrird and not let Trulli back through and the stewards would have done nothing about it.

    However, in McLaren’s case that was not a risk they could afford. If they had got it wrong they would have been DQ’d, just as they have been before for even the slightest transgression. So they let Trulli back through, incorrectly.

    It’s being reported in the Times today that McLaren tried to “cheat their way to thrid place” which blatently false as Trulli had fallen off all on his own. It should be remembered in all this palaver that the thrid place was rightfully Hamiltons. He gave it back to Trulli because the team couldn’t be sure they would not be sanctioned by the FIA.

    The punishment is a clear indication that Ron Dennis’ departure was enough to placate the FIA. This is a dreadful state of affairs. Formula 1 generates billions of dollars in revenue and is watched by millions of people around the world and yet the sport, and some of it’s more myopic fans, are completely happy to accept a situation were sporting decisions are being affected by personality conflicts.

    I have said it before many times and I will say it again…

    It will all come out in the end. Hopefully, however, the sport has survived the reign of terror for it to matter when it does.

  45. James Allen says:

    Funnily enough I was with her this evening at a party in London to celebrate the BAFTA success. She’s on good form, presenting the Touring Card on ITV4 and running her own media training business for young drivers, based in Oxfordshire.

  46. Colster says:

    And she was at the Aussie GP presenting GP TV.

  47. James Allen says:

    Not sure they’ll have too much choice, Tom. It’s the same for everyone, although clearly the teams which have grown the most will have the furthest to reduce.

  48. James Allen says:

    I don’t see why not. They did what they did. The Ferrari dossier thing was really massive. They could have been thrown out of the championship for that.

  49. Peter Freeman says:

    James I fail to see how you can justify your reply. In 2006 it WAS another team, namely Ferrari at Monaco with Michael Schumacher. They were found guilty of lying to the stewards, just like McLaren were here, no difference what so ever. However Ferrari were given ENTIRELY different treatment.

  50. Mattw says:

    James – The Ferrari dossier thing is a case in point – why was similar action not taken against Renault and Toyota for similar transgressions?
    (*IF it really is so massive*)

  51. Mattw says:

    Also – McLaren were thrown out of the championship for that.

  52. nick says:

    This whole excercise was a massive waste of time. Why bring them in front of the wmsc if they were only going to get a reprimand?
    I recall a few week ago Bernie saying that Dennis’ retirement was not going to affect the outcome of the hearing.
    Well, apparently it did. Dennis falling on his own sword, or rather being pushed by Mosley and Hamilton senior and junior, saved his former team from any kind of punishment

  53. rdw says:

    Hamilton and McLaren were penalised. Both the team and it’s driver were DQ’d from the results in Australia.

    That is a penalty.

    With Bernie running around claiming that as each world championship point has a dollar amount attached to it that what McLaren did was “fraud” then the fact that they were docked 6 constructor points in Australia means they were, effectively, fined a monetary amount.

    Hamilton, on the other hand, is 6 drivers points further away from the championship than had the result in Australia been what is should have been. And make no mistake, had theFIA and it;s stewards been doing theior job then third place was Hamilton’s rightful finishing position.

    How can either of those situations be described as no “punishment at all”?

  54. Mattw says:

    McLaren were disqualified from Australia – so to say there was no punishment is not correct

    And add to that the loss of two seniour personel, the damage to their reputation and the suspended ban hanging over their heads for the rest of the year.

  55. MarkA says:

    Wow – some anger simmering beneath the surface there? :)

  56. Malcolm46 says:

    Neilius,

    Couldnt have put it better myself.

    Just thinking about that whole Schumacher parking incident, it makes me laugh how he was only sent to the back of the grid. It was laughable what he did that day, it was so obvious that he parked it.

    This sport is all about taking risks and pushing things to the edge. Is there really a difference between what Mclaren did in Australia and say the ‘flexi wings’ we had recently, (or even the diffusers but thats a different story and maybe not now….!!) its all about pushing to the maximum to win. I’m not saying its acceptable to lie, but every team on the grid is pushing everything to the edge and beyond.

    So was Mclaren harshly punished? Personally I was expecting worse, but maybe thats the situation we are in now, I dont think that another team would have been given this sentence though. Lets hope Mclaren dont do anything controversial anytime soon……!

  57. LT says:

    I agree wholeheartedly….excellent post Neilius!! But it’s obvious the Ferrari fanBOYS and McLaren/Hamilton haters can’t see every fact, only the ones they want to see.

  58. Kenny says:

    In the short time that I have been reading and participatong in Mr. Allen’s blog, I have found it refreshing that the posters are, for the most part, very knowledgable, have interesting things to say, and keep the tone of the discussion pleasant. Until now, I have seen none of the name calling and attempts to ridicule others’ comments that I find so annoying on so many other blogs.

    Neilius, we are all interested in what you have to say, but let’s keep it civil, eh? If you can’t do that, perhaps you would find the NASCAR page on the FoxSports website more to your liking.

  59. Pete says:

    I think MacLaren were lucky by the fact that there was a months gap between the lie and the court case.

    This gave MacLaren plenty of time to do the whole apology routine and the “we got rid of Ron so Max go easy on us” trick.

    If the case had happened directly after the lie, Macca wouldn’t have been so lucky.

  60. Dave H says:

    I tend to agree in part to this. I don’t think Ron was involved with the lying issue but Max grasped it as the perfect opportunity to push him out.

    I feel there was some form of agreement made where if Ron stepped down and away from the F1 operation then Max wouldn’t allow the team to be disqualified from the championship.
    This is the only reason that i can see why Ron would walk away from F1; to save the team.

  61. LT says:

    In a way, that comes back to how this whole saga began in the 1st place. McLaren were obviously over-cautious in Melbourne because of being unjustifiably screwed over by the FIA (belgium last year for example) in the past, that they tried to go by the book, only to get screwed again!

  62. Paul says:

    Is “scapegoat” really the correct word?

    Ryan was in a position of responsibility and actively involved in the meetings where the lying occurred.

    He’s hardly some naif who’s been sacrificed in preference to the ‘real’ culprits.

  63. PaulL says:

    Everybody else gets it.

    There’s a clear difference between stating what you believe to the stewards to defend yourself over something that happened, and inventing a lie to gain a place after the race.

    You’re unlikely to fool anybody by seeing and preaching black and white.

  64. Paul says:

    Don’t forget they have already been excluded from the Australian GP so it isn’t just a suspended sentence.

  65. James Allen says:

    RDW – He was actually fourth before – and after – the Trulli incident, so it’s five points he lost.

  66. Ephraimjohn says:

    You say that he should have been fourth, but I was under the impression that he should actually have been third, if all the rules had been adhered to. He was legitimately allowed to pass Trulli who taking a cross-country expedition; and McLaren’s mistake was in letting Trulli back through. But seeing as that mistake came after consultation with Charlie Whiting, surely they’d have had the place restored to them post-race?

    This whole sorry mess seems to have its roots in Spa last year, where the confusion (and paranoia) around overtaking was ramped to such a level that McLaren feel obliged to relinquish a place that they don’t need to, for fear of penalty. Whilst the racing this year has been much more exciting, something needs to be done to clear any/all confusion around “legitimate” overtaking.

  67. Peter Freeman says:

    James I thought that after Trulli went off the track Hamilton was third and entitled to stay third?

  68. rdw says:

    James, I was under the same impression as both Ephraimjohn and Peter Freeman above. If the race in Australia had played out with no errors or FIA intervention (imagined or not) then Hamilton would have rightly finished in third rather than fourth.

    I have no doubt that had McLaren not been backed into a sence of complete paranoia by the FIA in recent years then they would not have reacted as they did. They would have left Hamilton in third after Trulli fell off and let race control sort it out after the race.

    As I have said before, McLaren do not (did not???) have that luxury. Any transgression by McLaren has led to the most extreme punishments and so the team do not react with the expectation that justice will be done.

    That is what caused this whole sorry mess. It is tempting to say that one hopes that Ron Dennis’ departure from McLaren will put an end to that kind of petty persecution but I find it difficult to find hope in Max’s successfull petty vendetta.

  69. James Allen says:

    Ferrari was not really involved in what happened in Monaco, they backed Schumacher, but he acted alone. It’s much harder to prove what he did. The chief steward in that case, Tony Scott Andrews went to extraordinary lengths to make sure he got it right. Even to the point of taking until 11pm to release a decision!

    On a more general note I can see that people are getting quite worked up about this issue, which is understandable because people are passionate about the sport. However please remember that this space is not for slagging people off, whether it be drivers, McLaren personnel, FIA personnel, Bernie or whoever. By all means debate, but don’t get personal. Thanks, JA

  70. Paul says:

    I’d have thought Ferrari have more important issues to be focussing on than nobbling McLaren, unless they are also going to somehow nobble Brawn, Red Bull and Toyota too.

    Ferrari need performance, not distractions.

  71. *Paul_W* says:

    So was it ever proven that Schumacher cheated James? At the time I seem to remember the FIA statement coming across in a rather wooly manner. I’ve always thought that the could never directly prove what he did was intentional and cheating (which makes giving a punishment harsh!).

    If you could shed some light on that I’m sure it’d answer a lot of questions for folks on here.

  72. Peter Freeman says:

    James how could Schumacher have known Alonso was ahead of his sector times if Ferrari were not keeping him updated? Also since Ferrari were watching his telemetry while talking to him on the radio, how could they possibly not see him breaking out of sequence or ask him what he was doing? Ferrari did not know? They did not even see him switch his engine off? Or rather he Schumacher could not have done it without Ferrari’s help, it would have been inherently impossible.

    No I am afraid it is impossible that Ferrari were not part of it and Ferrari most certainly were lying to the stewards and the FIA in 2006. It may have been MSC’s idea, but Ferrari were in on it and could in no way claim it did not happen, or that they did not know about it, which is exactly what they did.

    It is interesting to hear your insider insights into Tony Scott Andrews. What we from the outside were perceiving was the FIA delaying until midnight to try and declare that MSC and Ferrari were innocent after all. But the visual footage clearly showed what had happened and there was no way to deny it.

    Either way a grid penalty was not consistent with the offense, he should have been disqualified from the race and there should have been a hearing, just like there has been in this case.

  73. Vince says:

    It is really difficult to compare McLaren’s liegate incident, BAR-Honda’s fuel tank incident and Ferrari’s ‘parking’ incident for a number of reasons:

    Ferrari was Michael acting alone on the spur of the moment (although the team did back him)

    McLaren was a team decision, but also spur of the moment. It was aggravated by the team continuing with their story after it was clear they were lying.

    BAR-Honda was a calculated team decision enacted over a number of months.

    Ferrari was punished on the spot by the stewards.

    McLaren and BAR-Honda went through a full FIA hearing etc.

    I think the WMSC have it exactly right. BAR-Honda received the highest penalty, because it was a calculated decision to design in a mechanism for cheating, which must have gone up to the highest levels ot the team.

    McLaren received the 2nd biggest punishment, because it was a team decision to lie, but only those on the spot.

    Ferrari received the smallest punishment because it was a driver, and not the team.

  74. Colin S says:

    OK well if not Schumacher then McLaren (once again) when backing up Alonso’s claim that he normally waited an extra ten seconds after the lollipop before leaving his box at Hungary 2007. Grid penalty, no additional penalty.

    This despite the fact that the stewards did not accept the explanations of the parties; i.e. they considered they had been lied to.

    James, you have a better idea than any of us here; how long do you think it might have taken the stewards to find and review the audio and video of the incident? Bearing in mind we are talking about a maximum ten minutes combined video and audio transmissions.

    The stewards handed down an unappealable penalty to a driver (Trulli) without reviewing any evidence at all and accepting the word of the drivers who I have no doubt will always see incidents from their own perspective and argue their corner.

    This whole thing smells like more like a witch hunt than 2007 ever did.

  75. James Allen says:

    Apologies, you are right. I mixed it up with another result.

  76. Peter Freeman says:

    PaulL “stating what you believe to the stewards to defend yourself over something that happened” Who are you referring to? Certainly you can not be referring to MSC and Ferrari in 2006.

    The difference between McLaren in 2009 and Ferrari in 2006 is that Ferrari set out to cheat and then lied in attempt to succeed in their cheating, where as McLaren made a mistake and lost 3rd place and then attempted to lie to regain 3rd place.

    I think the conscious act of setting out to cheat and lie in order to accomplish said cheating is worse than just lying in an attempt to undo a mistake.

    Choose to disagree if you wish.

    On a personal note I will never stand back silent while the truth is distorted and trampled on while injustice is allowed to reign.

    Churchill said that all it takes for evil to succeed, is for good men to stay silent. No McLaren have not acted with honor or integrity. However that does not give license to anyone, the FIA included, to perpetrate injustice of this kind. It is wrong, it is inconsistent [moderated] and I for one will not stay silent!

  77. knoxploration says:

    Exactly the same could be said of Hamilton, to be quite honest. He’s more in a position of responsibility than much of the team’s staff, and was actively invovled in the lying himself.

    The point is that the highest positioned inviduals at which the cheating was known are the ones that should be punished for it. That doesn’t seem to have happened at McLaren – instead they’ve focused on one specific rung further down the ladder to take the heat, while those above who knew of (and by extension, approved of) the cheating have gone completely unpunished.

    It’s a rather sad indictment of F1 that the sum total of McLaren’s punishment for knowingly having another team punished for something they didn’t do was to have five points removed from driver and team (or at most six, depending on whether you consider that Trulli would’ve been forced to surrender a place that Hamilton intentionally gave back to him). Beyond that, they got a gentle smack on the wrist – “don’t get caught cheating again for a bit, and we’ll let you off with it”.

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