Rumours in the Sepang paddock suggest that McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan has left the team in the wake of the row that erupted over Lewis Hamilton's third place in the season-opening Australian Grand Prix.

Ryan, a key member of F1's Sporting Working Group in addition to his role at McLaren, was implicated - along with Hamilton - by the Melbourne stewards after apparently not revealing full details of the pit-to-car conversation that led to the world champion slowing to let Jarno Trulli back into third place behind the safety car.

The Italian was initially disqualified for having gained a position while the race was neutralised, and McLaren's testimony to the stewards, in which both Hamilton and Ryan are alleged to have left out confirmation that the driver was told to slow and let the Toyota pass, was later seen as 'deliberately misleading', resulting in Hamilton's exclusion from the event - with possible further sanctions to follow.

Ryan, meanwhile, appears to have been made the scapegoat for the incident and, despite the value his experience brings to McLaren, was conspicuous by his absence during Friday practice.

More details are likely to emerge during the day, with team CEO Martin Whitmarsh scheduled to appear at Friday afternoon's FIA press conference.

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