McLaren apologise to FIA

McLaren have written a letter offering their unreserved apologies to motor sport's world governing body, the FIA, in relation to the 'lie-gate' scandal.

Within the letter, it is understood McLaren accept they were in breach of article 151c of the International Sporting Code which relates to fraudulent conduct or act prejudicial to the sport.

The pro-active move comes ahead of next Wednesday's extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris.

The WMSC have it within their power to suspend the team from races or exclude them from the championship.

Speaking in Bahrain, McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said: "We are co-operating with the FIA.

"I have written to (FIA president) Max (Mosley), but before the 29th I can't say anything more."

Reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton was stripped of third place at the Australian Grand Prix in Melbourne four weeks ago after he and Dave Ryan, since sacked as sporting director, were discovered to be lying to the stewards.

The team must now answer five charges against them, with the most crucial element for the WMSC to determine is how far the deception ran within the team.

Whitmarsh has insisted Ryan acted alone, coercing Hamilton into fabricating a story that no order was given asking the 24-year-old to allow Toyota's Jarno Trulli to pass as they ran behind the safety car.

However, pit-to-driver radio that soon materialised undermined their deceit, one they attempted to spin out at a second hearing of the stewards in Malaysia, compounding their earlier indiscretion.

Hamilton's humble, emotional apology, Ryan's dismissal, followed by Ron Dennis' exit as CEO of McLaren Racing and Formula One as a whole will aid McLaren's cause when they face the WMSC.

But the WMSC will primarily be seeking answers as to who did what, the complete truth, before they deliver their judgment.

Another hefty fine, unlikely to be of the scale of the £50m (€55m) levied against them in the wake of 'spy-gate', can be expected.

The question then will be whether the council take further action against the team.

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