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."