McLaren Gets Ready For Punishment for Lying to Stewards
Topics: McLaren, Lewis Hamilton
April 28, 2009
McLaren has put its foot in it again with “lie-gate”. The news that team leader Whitmarsh has admitted to the affair in a letter to the FIA is another step towards trying to minimize the coming punishment.
Has a season gone by without McLaren making a major mistake? Yes, the FIA appears to be out to get the team, but McLaren deserves much blame for giving the FIA so many chances. Lie-gate is the latest ghastly mistake by McLaren. Lie-gate, of course, refers to Lewis Hamilton and Dave Ryan telling stewards one thing when the transcript of their radio conversation that went over the television broadcast to millions was completely different.
Caught red handed, McLaren has started to try to turn the page. Dave Ryan was made to fall on his sword and “resigned”. Lewis Hamilton then blamed Ryan and apologized personally to anyone who has ears. Ron Dennis pulled the sword out of Dave Ryan and then fell on it himself. Finally, Martin Whitmarsh wrote a mea culpa letter to the FIA in a further attempt to minimize the damage.
So, is McLaren really interested in ending the war with the FIA? I doubt it. This has gone on too long for anyone to be showing common sense. So, why would McLaren make these moves? The answer is found in engine supplier and 40 percent team owner Mercedes. They say all publicity is good publicity, but one gets the feeling Mercedes is starting to doubt that. When your team is fine $100 million dollars for “borrowing” information from the Ferrari team, it doesn’t look good. Throw lie-gate on top of it, and the Mercedes reputation is taking a beating.
McLaren is also under pressure for another reason. One need only look to the front of the grid to see something very interesting. Brawn GP looks mighty brilliant. The car is dominant and it is running a Mercedes engine. Mercedes is losing an estimated $1 BILLION dollars a month now in the economic recession. Might it be more interested in selling engines to teams instead of going all in with McLaren? The last vote at McLaren regarding whether to continue with McLaren was rumored to be 3-2 on the board of directors. That could easily change.
So, what happens to McLaren next week when the FIA renders a punishment? Rumors of a ban for the rest of the season are nonsense. McLaren has admitted the offense. They have moved to be remorseful. The FIA knows no team can afford to be banned from racing without sponsorship revolts. All and all, this suggests the FIA will fine McLaren a certain number of points. This will equate to a slap on the wrist since McLaren has no realistic chance of winning the constructor’s title this year.
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