McLaren has been summoned to appear before the FIA's World Motor Sport Council on April 29 to answer charges that it has brought Formula 1 into disrepute over the controversy surrounding Lewis Hamilton's Australian Grand Prix disqualification.
The team has been summoned after it 'deliberately misled' stewards at the Australian Grand Prix during a hearing into Jarno Trulli overtaking Lewis Hamilton behind the safety car in the closing stages of the Melbourne race.
The FIA announced on Tuesday that the team will appear before the extraordinary WMSC hearing in Paris on the Wednesday after the Bahrain GP to answer charges that it has breached Article 151c of the International Sporting Code.
The rule states that competitors are in breach of the regulations if they take part in: "Any fraudulent conduct or any act prejudicial to the interests of any competition or to the interests of motor sport generally."
The FIA claims that McLaren may have broken the regulations on five counts, that:
* on 29 March, 2009, told the stewards of the Australian Grand Prix that no instructions were given to Hamilton in Car No. 1 to allow Trulli in Car no. 9 to pass when both cars were behind the safety car, knowing this statement to be untrue;
* procured its driver Hamilton the current World Champion, to support and confirm this untrue statement to the stewards;
* although knowing that as a direct result of its untrue statement to the stewards, another driver and a rival team had been unfairly penalised, made no attempt to rectify the situation either by contacting the FIA or otherwise;
* on 2 April, 2009, at a second hearing before the stewards of the Australian Grand Prix, (meeting in Malaysia) made no attempt to correct the untrue statement of 29 March but, on the contrary, continued to maintain that the statement was true, despite being allowed to listen to a recording of the team instructing Hamilton to let Trulli past and despite being given more than one opportunity to correct its false statement;
* on 2 April, 2009, at the second stewards' hearing, procured its driver Hamilton to continue to assert the truth of the false statement given to the stewards on 29 March, while knowing that what he was saying to the stewards was not true.
McLaren has already admitted that sporting director Dave Ryan and Hamilton lied to the stewards during the hearing in Australia, and a second meeting on the eve of the Malaysian Grand Prix.
Ryan has been suspended by the team, and Hamilton made an open apology for his actions after revealing that he had been advised by Ryan not to tell the full truth.
"I've never felt so bad," he said during an emotional press conference in Malaysia last week. "Try and put yourself in my position and understand that, like I said, I am not a liar. I have not gone through my life being a liar or dishonest. And so for people to say I am dishonest and for the world to think that....what can I say?"
It is possible that Hamilton could be called to testify at the WMSC hearing to clarify his involvement in the matter.
His father-manager Anthony was understood to have been in contact with FIA president Max Mosley during the course of last week's Malaysian GP weekend as the fallout from the controversy spiralled out of control.