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McLaren 'comfortable' with FIA probe

1 January 1901

McLaren has said that it has nothing to hide following the FIA's announcement that it is to investigate the goings-on in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix, in which the team took a 1-2 result.

Fernando Alonso and Lewis Hamilton led the field from start to finish, having started first and second, lapping everyone up to third-placed Felipe Massa. However, the governing body - perhaps prompted by off-hand comments from Hamilton during the press conference - has decided that it needs to check whether or not McLaren used 'team orders' to influence the result.

Hamilton is known to have been given a heavier fuel load with which to qualify - and therefore start the race - but kept Alonso in sight for the entire 78-lap distance, the gap only really ebbing and flowing in traffic. However, the Briton revealed that he had been summoned for his second pit-stop some five or six laps earlier than expected - a move the team claims was to counter a possible safety car period for Adrian Sutil's accident - and then ordered not to challenge Alonso lest the pressure - or a move for the lead - cause one or both to crash out.

While any instruction issued from pit-wall would only have been to hold station, rather than for one driver to move over in favour of the other - the sort of 'team orders' that have caused Ferrari to come under the microscope in the past - the FIA has decided to investigate further. McLaren, however, has welcomed the move, claiming that it has little to fear.

"McLaren is completely comfortable with the FIA's investigation into its race strategy, and that all decisions taken both before and during the race were completely in compliance with the international sporting code," a team spokeswoman told Crash.net.

Whether any decision is made regarding the race before the next round in Canada remains to be seen, but the FIA's announcement has provided another talking point if nothing else.


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