There are more details to follow, but @f1scoop lived up to its name by being the first on Twitter to announce that McLaren’s punishment is a 3 race suspended ban. After clarification from @F1_Girl, I understand this to mean that the ban is looming, and can be handed to McLaren by the FIA the next time they mess up.
I’m relieved that there is no ban in place now and have to hope that McLaren can stay squeaky clean for the rest of the season. I would assume that the ban is valid for the rest of the season only, and will not roll over to the 2010 season.
When the details are revealed I’ll also be interested to see if the ban applies to both Hamilton and Kovalainen, or just Hamilton as he was the only driver involved in the incident.
UPDATE: Here is the press release from the FIA / WMSC Statement:
At an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council held in Paris on 29 April 2009, Vodafone McLaren Mercedes admitted five charges of breaching article 151c of the International Sporting Code relating to events at the Australian and Malaysian Grand Prix.
The following decision was taken:
“Having regard to the open and honest way in which McLaren Team Principal, Mr Martin Whitmarsh, addressed the WMSC and the change in culture which he made clear has taken place in his organisation, the WMSC decided to suspend the application of the penalty it deems appropriate.
“That penalty is a suspension of the team from three races of the FIA Formula One World Championship. This will only be applied if further facts emerge regarding the case or if, in the next 12 months, there is a further breach by the team of article 151c of the International Sporting Code.”
The full reasons for this decision will be issued shortly.
It would seem that the suspension will be for the whole team if it gets applied, which is especially harsh for Kovalainen who was not directly involved.
The ban will come into effect if there is any further breach of article 151c by McLaren. The aforementioned article states: This article covers “any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally”.
The ban could also come in at any time in the next 12 months if McLaren are found in breach of article 151c, so that will include the first 4 races of the 2010 races as well as the remainder of the 2009 season.
I’m sure there are some that will say McLaren have been let off lightly – I’m just happy that Hamilton and Kovalainen will be able to continue racing and will keep the points they have won so far.
Let us now go forward, put this to the back of our memories and concentrate on a very exciting Formula 1 season.