Mercedes-Benz has begun a search for one of its employees in Spain, who vandalised the Wikipedia entry on Lewis Hamilton, the company told autosport.com.
Entries on the free online encyclopedia can be edited by any person, but the website keeps track of the changes made, and by whom. Unregistered users are logged by their IP address, while registered members appear under their user name.
Last week on Friday, an unregistered user accessing Wikipedia from an IP address belonging to Mercedes-Benz in Spain made several unflattering modifications to the Hamilton entry.
Among these modifications, the user modified a quote from Michael Schumacher, who said in 2001 that if Hamilton "keeps this up I'm sure he will reach F1."
The user altered the quote to read: "I know that he is quite ugly, but if he keeps this up I'm sure he will reach F1."
In another instance, the user added the following description to a section relating to Hamilton's drive in the Japanese Grand Prix:
"He caused a crash between Mark Webber and Sebastien Vettel, as a result of his bizarre, dangerous and illegal manoeuvres while he was following the safety-car. Despite the videos and the widespread opinion, he was obviously not penalizated [sic]."
Wikipedia administrators removed these modifications and locked the Hamilton entry for further changes, stating: "Editing of this article by unregistered or newly registered users is currently disabled until October 20, 2007, due to vandalism."
A Mercedes-Benz spokesman confirmed to autosport.com that the user's IP address does indeed belong to Daimler in Spain and said the matter is now being investigated by the company.
He also revealed that all employees have received a reminder of the company's internet usage policy as a result of the affair.
"We can confirm the IP belongs to Daimler," the spokesman told autosport.com. "This also includes our dealer network.
"But it may not be possible to find out who did it, as activities are only stored for two days. That means we cannot trace it, but investigations are still continuing.
"However, Daimler has sent an email to all employees to remind them that computers should only be used for business purposes and not for activities like updating blogs or Wikipedia. There is now a clear restriction on what the computer should be used for.
"But rest assured, we are still looking into it."