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Hamilton facing F1 suspension as FIA threatens 'further action'?

Lewis Hamilton could be facing suspension or even exclusion from the 2009 Formula 1 World Championship after it was revealed that he and his McLaren-Mercedes team had 'deliberately misled' the FIA over his pass on Toyota's Jarno Trulli in the closing stages of the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne four days ago.

Following a second stewards' meeting in Sepang ahead of this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, the defending F1 World Champion was disqualified from third place in the season curtain-raiser Down Under [see separate story – click here], and since then a spokesman for the FIA has stated: “Given the seriousness of this matter, we cannot rule out further action at this stage.”

It is suggested that the only two courses of such 'further action' available to the governing body's World Motor Sport Council (WMSC), should the issue make it that far, would be suspension from a future race or races or – even worse – disqualification from the world championship altogether.

Hamilton and McLaren's crime at Albert Park was one of acting 'in a manner prejudicial to the conduct of the event by providing evidence deliberately misleading to the stewards' following an investigation into the pass on Trulli, with a subsequent enquiry in Sepang finding the Woking-based outfit and its star driver guilty of breaching article 151c of the International Sporting Code, which covers 'any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motorsport generally' – and carries with it penalties ranging from a reprimand to exclusion from the entire world championship.

The FIA has published a transcript of the pits-to-car radio conversation between Hamilton and McLaren in Australia [see separate story – click here], upon the basis of which it made its decision to exclude the 24-year-old from the results of the season-opening race.

Should the matter indeed be referred to the WMSC, it would not be the McLaren's first brush with controversy in recent campaigns, having been fined a sporting record $100 million and disqualified from the constructors' world championship in 2007 over the espionage row that rocked the top flight to its core.

In an interview with German broadcaster RTL, triple former F1 World Champion Niki Lauda – now an outspoken commentator on the sport – has blasted the fact that it took the FIA four days to come to a definitive ruling on the subject as 'the biggest joke of all time'.

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Frank (NL) - Unregistered

April 03, 2009 7:53 AM

Wha wha wha... Things like: 'I will never watch F1 again' or 'This WILL be the final nail in the coffin that's F1' or 'There's a hidden agenda' or 'FIA: rrari International Assistance'.... Just some English people that are pissed 'cause there golden boy maybe expelled. The rest of the world just thinks: "about time someone kicked some ass at McLaren" I'm in the Netherlands and couldn't care less if they kick Lewis, or the whole McLaren team out for that matter. It would leave enough cars to have a race, and that's what it's all about. Not 'lying Lewis', not McLaren, but racing. Besides that, you all got Button the boy wonder now!

Smu3l3y - Unregistered

April 02, 2009 3:59 PM

OK i dont normally swear but What the F**K i have been a loyal supporter of Formula 1 for 12 years but this is F*****G stupid. My word if this Happens i really will stop watching Formula 1 I didnt think it could get much worse then last year. yes i dont like his personality but hes a bloody good driver. Sport is meant to be a plesureful thing not something that pisses you off like your parents do " eventually if things carry on like this it wont just be the hamilton supporters who turn their back on what once was a great sport but i belive everybody will turn their back on this now shambolic corrupt sport eventually l:( whats the point in having races may as well be FORMULA COURT ROOM!!!

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