McLaren to face FIA hearing over Hamilton row

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The Independent Online

Formula One's ruling body has summoned McLaren to an extraordinary meeting on 29 April to answer charges that it deliberately misled stewards over events at the Australian Grand Prix.

The FIA said today that McLaren was charged with lying when it told race officials that it had not given Lewis Hamilton instructions to let Toyota's Jarno Trulli overtake while the pair were behind the safety car.

The FIA said that McLaren had passed up two opportunities to rectify evidence it knew was false.

The second inquiry, before last week's Malaysian Grand Prix, stripped the defending world champion of his points and expelled his team from the season-opening race at Melbourne.

Hamilton has apologised and said he was "instructed and misled" into withholding evidence by sporting director Dave Ryan, whom McLaren has blamed for masterminding the deception.

McLaren said Ryan left the team today.

"As a result, he is no longer an employee of any of the constituent companies of the McLaren Group," the English team said in a statement. "We undertake to cooperate fully with all WMSC (World Motor Sport Council) processes, and welcome the opportunity to work with the FIA in the best interests of Formula One."

Available penalties include suspending McLaren or Hamilton from future races or this year's entire championship.

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh has already said he is considering his future after going on holiday right after last weekend's season-opening race at Melbourne.

Trulli was initially hit with a penalty of 25 seconds for overtaking behind the safety car, giving Hamilton third place.