Formula One giants McLaren Mercedes have been summoned to appear before an extraordinary meeting of the FIA World Motor Sport Council in Paris on April 29 to answer charges over their behavior at the opening Grand Prix of the season.
Reigning champion Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from third place in the Australian Grand Prix last Thursday over lying to the stewards at the race that he had not been instructed to allow Jarno Trulli to pass him during the race when the safety car was out on the track.
The incident earned the Italian a 25-second penalty, which saw him relegated, with Hamilton promoted onto the podium but at a hearing the FIA ruled Hamilton and his team lied about the circumstances.
Trulli was reinstated and Hamilton disqualified which led to the Briton apparently being so distraught that he threatened to leave the sport entirely but was persuaded by FIA chief Max Mosley not to.
McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan was fired after the announcement of the hearing on Tuesday after initially being suspended last week and sent home from the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Ryan — who had been with the team for 35 years — was blamed by Hamilton for telling him to give the misleading testimony.
“Ryan is no longer an employee of any of the McLaren Group’s constituent companies,” the team said.
Now, though, the FIA want a fuller examination of the facts surrounding the case and among the answers they wish to know is why the team persisted even at the enquiry in Malaysia last Thursday with the line that they had not instructed Hamilton to allow Trulli to pass him.
McLaren later on Tuesday issued a statement saying they would co-operate fully with the FIA.
“McLaren acknowledge receipt of an invitation to appear at an FIA World Motor Sport Council [WMSC] meeting in Paris on April 29, received on Tuesday afternoon,” read the statement.
“We undertake to co-operate fully with all WMSC processes, and welcome the opportunity to work with the FIA in the best interests of Formula One,” it said.
McLaren have had previous trouble with the WMSC, who disqualified them from the constructors championship and fined them US$100 million as part of the spy scandal with Ferrari in 2007.