McLaren Suspend Dave Ryan Over Australia Disqualification

McLaren Suspend Dave Ryan Over Australia Disqualification

McLaren’s Sporting Director, Dave Ryan, has been suspended by Martin Whitmarsh today, the action coming after Ryan’s involvement with the issues surrounding the team following the eventual disqualification of Lewis Hamilton from the Australian Grand Prix. Ryan’s suspension was announced this morning in Malaysia and as the first practice session commenced, Ryan was seen leaving the Sepang circuit.

While McLaren professed that they have not intentionally mislead the FIA Stewards in the investigations that followed Lewis Hamilton’s passing of Jarno Trulli under the safety car, the FIA believe they did and have strongly voiced this in the past two days.

Initially, Jarno Trulli received a penalty following the contravention of the sporting regulations, but as new evidence was presented, the stewards re-opened the investigation and ultimately decided to reinstate the Toyota driver, and disqualify Hamilton. It would appear that team-to-driver radio communication was not initially listened to, and McLaren state that they believed it had already been offered to the stewards.

Whether or not this is the case, McLaren’s and Hamilton’s reputation will have taken a hit over this and the team have decided to take action against those involved with dealing with the FIA over this incident.

In my 20-odd years working for McLaren, I doubt if I’ve met a more dedicated individual than Davey. He’s been an integral part of McLaren since 1974 and has played a crucial role in the team’s many world championship successes since that time.

However, his role in the events of last Sunday, particularly his dealings with the FIA stewards, has caused serious repercussions for the team, for which we apologise. Therefore, I suspended him this morning and he has accepted this. Martin Whitmarsh.

The FIA had the following say…

During the hearing, held approximately one hour after the end of the race, the Stewards and the Race Director questioned Lewis Hamilton and his Team Manager David Ryan specifically about whether there had been an instruction given to Hamilton to allow Trulli to overtake.

Both the driver and the team manager stated that no such instruction had been given.

The race director specifically asked Hamilton whether he had consciously allowed Trulli to overtake. Hamilton insisted that he had not done so. FIA Statement.

A transcript of the communication between McLaren and Lewis Hamilton during the final lap of the race clearly shows the team asking Hamilton to let Trulli through while they contact Charlie Whiting, the FIA’s Race Director, for clarification.

Lewis Hamilton has since held a short press conference in the Sepang Media Centre where he apologised to the FIA and to the stewards, insisted that only he and Dave Ryan were involved and that it was Ryan who had asked Lewis to not mention the fact that they had requested the position be relinquished to Trulli.

Every time I have been informed to do something I have done it. This time I realise it was a huge mistake and I am learning from it. It has taken a huge toll on me. I apologise to you guys, I didn’t speak to you yesterday, but there was a lot to take in and a lot to deal with. I am here to apologise to everyone and I assure you it won’t happen again. Lewis Hamilton.

The FIA may still take further action against McLaren, but for now, let’s hope the matter in the past and we can move forward to the Malaysian Grand Prix.

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7 comments

  • Whilst I feel very sorry that Lewis has found himself in this situation, he went along with it, so I feel it’s unfair that it should just be Ryan who’s suspended. The thing is, if the team are prepared to have someone given a penalty on the basis of 1 race point what else have they been misleading about?

    I do feel that the stewards should have a long hard look at themselves over this fiasco, they had all the evidence to hand but decided not to use it, instead they based their decision on drivers comments during their meeting. That’s hardly very professional is it? and yet we have the situation where Vettel admits he was wrong for a racing incident and is handed a 10 place penalty .. something is very wrong with the current system.

  • Vettel got the +10 Gridpositions-Penalty for driving on with a highly damaged car, which produced debris all over the track, whilst the team has to pay 50.000 Dollars for not telling him to park the car ;).

    But I agree with you Jackie, something is very wrong with the current system. But overall, nothing new about the FIA…

  • The fact that there is confusion over what Vettel was penalised for is justification alone that there is something wrong with the system. Although I will add that I think most of the confusion over this has come about because a few people decided to not read the statements properly and launched into a tirade, which spread quickly around the ‘net. I do think though, that the FIA could have done a better job at being explicitly clear as to what the penalty was for.

    The changing of race results is just wrong, and while I do see the need in some extreme circumstances to amend the result or disqualify a driver, the seemingly arbitury penalties and mind-changing (or initial bad calls) are bad for the image of the sport.

    Late last year I asked BlogF1 readers if the stewards were ruining Formula One. Once again, that question has come to the fore, and only in a matter of a few races.

    BlogF1 Article: Are The Stewards Ruining Formula One?

  • Hi there!

    No doubt this situation is very embarassing for the sport. 3 classifications in less than a week that is a bit too much.

    But if I find the punishment a bit harsh on Lewis the fact is that both (lewis and the team)lied to the FIA and not many people seemed to bother when Jarno lost his points…

    They lied.

    I don’t know why they lied there was nothing to hide but they lied. And after the traditional “we’ve done nothing wrong” they admitted AGAIN (remember 2007) they lied.

    They even dismissed one of their staff.

    Again an escape goat! In this team they do nothing wrong, they never know what is happening in their own house, they swear there is only one bad guy (M Coughlan, D Ryan, who will be next?)

    May be they need a good manager?

    So sorry for Lewis anyway…

  • I do think though, that the FIA could have done a better job at being explicitly clear as to what the penalty was for.

    Ollie, I couldn’t agree more, in fact I said as much on the article you wrote about Lewis Hamilton been disqualified.

    The lesson to be learned is decisions should be clear and unambiguous and made at the race track – preferably before the podium ceremony.

    I am astonished to see Steven Roy’s comment saying

    I found out today that stewards meetings are not minuted.

    Having said all this I have to say the BBC coverage of qualifying this morning was excellent, especially the opening quarter of an hour explaining this fiasco.

    Having watched the story unfold I find myself at a total loss as to what Lewis Hamilton and Dave Ryan thought they were doing.

  • Hi there!

    ‘ello Ago. I thought you’d have been over here quicker than that! 😉

    No doubt this situation is very embarassing for the sport. 3 classifications in less than a week that is a bit too much.

    Totally. What an utter farce.

    They lied. I don’t know why they lied there was nothing to hide but they lied.

    No question about that, I totally agree. Part of me says, well, if you think you can get away with it… a bit like when a police officer asks if you knew how fast you were going. But at the end of the day, a lie is a lie, McLaren got caught a deserve the appropriate punishment.

    The lesson to be learned is decisions should be clear and unambiguous and made at the race track – preferably before the podium ceremony.

    Indeed. We’ve been ranting on about this for years here at BlogF1. Not one season goes by when a rule isn’t seen to be ambiguous and therefore, ridiculous.

    Having said all this I have to say the BBC coverage of qualifying this morning was excellent, especially the opening quarter of an hour explaining this fiasco.

    The BBC are doing a pretty good job, aren’t they. I don’t have any complaints, anyway.

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