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F1 NEWS 

McLaren could face further sanctions

Martin WhitmarshThe FIA has not ruled out taking further action against McLaren in the wake of Lewis Hamilton's disqualification from the Australian Grand Prix.

The Briton was excluded from the Melbourne race after the stewards deemed he and his McLaren team had 'deliberately misled' them about a radio conversation that took place after he had passed Toyota driver Jarno Trulli behind the safety car.

Following McLaren's decision to suspend its sporting director Dave Ryan, and Hamilton's emotional public apology to the FIA stewards and his fans for what he called a 'huge mistake', the FIA has indicated that it will review all the evidence before deciding whether to refer the matter to the World Motor Sport Council.

The sport's governing body also recognised the efforts at which the world champion had gone to explain himself, hinting that any further sanctions might be focused on the team's role in the incident, rather than the driver's.

"We recognise Lewis's efforts to set the record straight today," said an FIA spokesman. "It would appear that he was put in an impossible position.

"We are now awaiting reports from the FIA observer and stewards before consideration can be given to further investigation of the team's conduct.

"We cannot rule out the matter being referred to the World Council at this stage."

When asked during his press conference at Sepang if he was concerned about the possibility of further action being taken against him and McLaren by the FIA, Hamilton said: "I am sure the FIA will act accordingly and in the right way. I don't know what else is going to happen in the future.

"For me now, I have to focus on the race and try to move forward from this, learn from it and grow."

If the matter is referred to the WMSC, McLaren could face a significant fine or even exclusion from races or the championship.

McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh said today that he felt 'deep regret' at the events of the past week, adding that the team wanted 'come clean' on its side of the story.

"It has become clear from discussions with Dave [Ryan] last night and through into this morning that during the stewards meeting after the Australian Grand Prix, he was not entirely full and truthful in the answers he gave the stewards," said Whitmarsh.

"Consequently we had no alternative today other than to suspend him. As you can imagine, it is a very sad day for the team. We have got to deal with this weekend. We have to look in a bit more detail all of the events that surrounded it."

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