The McLaren team found itself fighting another firestorm as day two of the Malaysian Grand prix passed, attempting to diffuse reports that star driver Lewis Hamilton had threatened to turn his back on it - and Formula One - after being embroiled in accusations of lying to the stewards in Melbourne.

The team, which suspended veteran sporting director Dave Ryan on day one of the Sepang meeting after it emerged that he had not been entirely truthful in discussing matters surrounding Hamilton's cessation of third place in Melbourne to Jarno Trulli - which resulted in the Italian initially being handed a time penalty that dropped him out of the points.

When it transpired that Ryan had 'deliberately misled' the stewards by omitting the fact that Hamilton had been told to move over by the McLaren team, Trulli was reinstated, the Briton disqualified, and both Hamilton and Ryan sullied by accusations of lying.

It is this tarnishing of his reputation that Hamilton is alleged to have threatened to quit over, according to Britain's Sunday Times newspaper.

Having apparently contacted FIA president Max Mosley to reveal what he felt had been circumstances in which he felt directed by Ryan to lie to the stewards, the world champion is reported to have also said he was prepared to walk away from the sport.

Mosley is believed to have advised him to reconsider, and subsequently allowed Hamilton unprecedented use of the FIA press conference to stage his own address-cum-apology to the media, in which he implicated Ryan - apparently, according to the report, with 'some sort of amnesty against further action in exchange for coming clean'. It is thought that Mclaren could face further sanctions over Ryan's action.

The Woking team, which is facing a troubled start to the season on-track as well as off, has since moved to play down the 'quit' stories, insisting that it was not aware that Hamilton's frustration has stretched to that extent.

"The first I knew of it was this morning," under-fire CEO Martin Whitmarsh told reporters at Sepang on Sunday, "We have asked Anthony [Hamilton] only five minutes ago if this is true, and he has told us that Lewis has not spoken to Max.

"I have read some stories this morning, but I have obviously spoken to Lewis and Anthony on quite a few occasions and, in all of those conversations, the commitment from Lewis and Anthony to this team has not altered. There has been no hint of what is reported.

"At the moment, I don't believe what has been reported. What we do know is that we've got to learn from the mistakes that have been made. Everything that Lewis and Anthony have said to me has been incredibly appreciative and supportive of what this team has done for them and there's been no hint of anything that would cause me to believe that they would contemplate leaving the team - for this or any other reason."


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