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McLaren admit lying to stewards - Lewis Hamilton's incident with Jarno Trulli is investigated further

Published by Christine

This article was originally written for BellaOnline, but is republished here for posterity.

The matter of Lewis Hamilton's disqualification from last week's race results has now moved on to a much bigger problem. It's not simply about getting an extra point or having to pay a fine, it's now a matter of being dishonest with the stewards. More and more details are emerging about this incident, and while there is a case to make that it is being blown out of proportion, it is still clearly a case of lying to the stewards. We've had press conferences from McLaren and Hamilton, and we've had access to the pit-to-car radio that the stewards reviewed as well.

Hamilton went past Trulli when the Toyota ran off line, and immediately asked his team if that was okay. They said to let the car back past. Then they came back on the radio and said to hold station, but by that time, Lewis had already allowed Jarno through. Hamilton then spent the next few minutes asking the team to check with race director Charlie Whiting if he could take the place back, as he didn't think he needed to let the car past. Race control was busy at that point, overseeing the last few laps of the Grand Prix under the safety car, so they didn't get an answer.

When Hamilton exited the car, he did an interview with the waiting media, telling them what had happened, and then he was ushered to the stewards office. He met with sporting director Dave Ryan to discuss the situation, and conscious of not wanting to receive any kind of penalty, they decided to omit the fact that the team had allowed the car through.

Thus, they lied. Or they omitted the truth, but either way, the dishonesty meant Trulli got the penalty.

Now, with things regarding the race rectified, the only matter remains how the FIA are going to deal with the fact the team lied. McLaren have suspended Dave Ryan, sending him home on a plane the moment they did so. It seems as though he is taking a lot of the blame, but Hamilton also held a solo press conference where he held his hands up and admitted he should have told the truth.

The FIA are still reviewing the situation, but this is yet another bit of seriously bad PR that McLaren could have done without.