The under-fire McLaren team has formally acknowledged that it has been 'invited' to appear before the FIA World Motor Sport Council to answer charges arising from the Australian Grand Prix, in which it is accused of 'deliberately misleading' race stewards to gain an advantage.

The sport's governing body confirmed Tuesday [7 April] that McLaren would face the possibility of further sanctions - which could go as far as complete expulsion from the Formula One world championship - after it was found guilty of attempting to manipulate the result of the season-opening event in Melbourne by not providing race stewards with a complete account of what took place while the drivers were held under the safety car in the closing stages of the race.

Having assumed third position on the road when Jarno Trulli took a brief grassy excursion, Lewis Hamilton appeared to slow and allow the Italian back through to retake the place. Trulli was later handed a 25-second penalty that dropped him to the tail of the lead lap, allowing Hamilton to rise to third in the published results.

At the stewards inquiry, however, neither Hamilton or McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan disclosed that the driver had been advised to move over for Trulli - thereby negating the charge that the Toyota driver had deliberately retaken the position by overtaking the Briton.

The penalties were subsequently reversed on the eve of last weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix, with Trulli reinstated to third and Hamilton excluded from the results altogether.

The world champion has since given a full account of, and apology for, his actions, and appears unlikely to face any further punishment. McLaren, however, has yet to learn its entire fate - while Ryan was suspended from duty at Sepang when the full extent of the matter came to light.

McLaren has since confirmed that Ryan's suspension has turned to dismissal, as it prepares to face the FIA in another courtroom showdown. It's last appearance before the WMSC resulted in a record ?100m fine and the loss of all its constructors' championship points following 2007's espionage affair.

"We undertake to co-operate fully with all WMSC processes, and welcome the opportunity to work with the FIA in the best interests of F1," a brief McLaren statement confirmed.

"This afternoon McLaren and its former sporting director, Dave Ryan, have formally parted company. As a result, he is no longer an employee of any of the constituent companies of the McLaren Group."

New Zealander Ryan had served McLaren for 34 years, having first joined the team as a Kiwi visitor to Britain keen to prolong an interest in motorsport that had seen him compete in speedway events in his homeland. His first season with the team coincided with Emerson Fittipaldi's 1974 world championship title, and he has remained loyal ever since, working his way up the ladder as the team went from being a successful privateer, through the merger with Ron Dennis' Project 4 operation to the modern-day powerhouse it is now.

The 54-year old, however, was accused of a serious error of judgement in his handling of the stewards enquiry in Melbourne, and has paid the price with his job.

New team principal Martin Whitmarsh remains in the role, despite rumours that he may fall on his sword over the affair, but is likely to have talks with technical partner Mercedes over his future in the coming days. Hamilton, meanwhile, has been rumoured to be considering quitting McLaren, feeling that he had been unfairly dragged into the furore - speculation Whitmarsh denies.

The WMSC hearing, in which McLaren will officially face five charges of 'breaking Article 151c of the International Sporting Code', is scheduled for 29 April.