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.