McLaren has been called to appear before the FIA's World Motor Sport Council on April 29th for an extraordinary meeting to answer charges that it 'deliberately misled' stewards at the Australian Grand Prix.
Lewis Hamilton was thrown out of the results when it was discovered that McLaren had not provided stewards with the full evidence when deciding whether Jarno Trulli had unlawfully overtaken him during the late safety car period in Melbourne.
However, the FIA will now decide whether McLaren will face further punishment as a result of the incident, which could go as far as expulsion from the championship.
The team, which has already parted ways with sporting director Dave Ryan for his part in the 'scandal', has been ordered to appear in Paris to answer charges on the following counts, that:
- on 29 March, 2009, told the stewards of the Australian Grand Prix that no instructions were given to Hamilton in Car No. 1 to allow Trulli in Car no. 9 to pass when both cars were behind the safety car, knowing this statement to be untrue;
- procured its driver Hamilton the current World Champion, to support and confirm this untrue statement to the stewards;
- although knowing that as a direct result of its untrue statement to the stewards, another driver and a rival team had been unfairly penalised, made no attempt to rectify the situation either by contacting the FIA or otherwise;
- on 2 April, 2009, at a second hearing before the stewards of the Australian Grand Prix, (meeting in Malaysia) made no attempt to correct the untrue statement of 29 March but, on the contrary, continued to maintain that the statement was true, despite being allowed to listen to a recording of the team instructing Hamilton to let Trulli past and despite being given more than one opportunity to correct its false statement;
- on 2 April, 2009, at the second stewards' hearing, procured its driver Hamilton to continue to assert the truth of the false statement given to the stewards on 29 March, while knowing that what he was saying to the stewards was not true.
The fall out from the furore has already provided the 2009 Formula 1 season with a talking point, with Hamilton himself calling a press conference at the Malaysian Grand Prix in Sepang to apologise for the incident and to clarify his involvement in the allegations.
The hearing will take place on the Wednesday following the fourth round of the season in Bahrain.