McLaren 'embarrassed' by Oz events

McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh says he has 'deep, deep regret' for the situation his team has found itself in after Lewis Hamilton was disqualified from the Australian Grand Prix

McLaren 'embarrassed' by Oz events

On the day that he was was forced to suspend McLaren stalwart Dave Ryan, its sporting director, for providing 'deliberately misleading' comments to race stewards in Melbourne, Whitmarsh said his team was embarrassed by all that had happened.

He revealed that it had only become clear last night and this morning that Ryan had not been totally truthful with the race stewards as they discussed Jarno Trulli overtaking Lewis Hamilton in the final safety car period of the Australia race.

Ryan and Hamilton misled the stewards because they claimed that there had been no radio conversation to discuss letting Trulli retake third place - something that was disproved after the race.

Speaking during a tense FIA press conference at Sepang on Friday, Whitmarsh said he had no choice but to suspend Ryan for his behaviour in the stewards' meeting.

"It has become clear from discussions with Dave 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.

"From my perspective obviously it is a point of deep, deep regret - it is not how I wanted this year in particular to start. It is something for which the team and myself are not only deeply embarrassed but deeply regretful, and for Davey it has been a shattering day for him."

Whitmarsh explained that Ryan and Hamilton's decision not to tell the stewards about the radio conversation between team and driver was taken unilaterally, without consultation with senior management.

"I think anyone who knows Davey will know that he did not set out with any deliberate intention to mislead the stewards," said Whitmarsh.

"He went to that meeting with Lewis I am sure with the intention of being very clear and straightforward, but I think during the course of that meeting, as we have explored it more with him over the past 24 hours, it has become clear that he was not as full and comprehensive as he could have been."

When asked if he felt Hamilton had also been truthful in the meeting, Whitmarsh said: "No. I think that Lewis was not entirely truthful, but we have spoken to Davey. He was the senior member of the team and they went into the situation together.

"I think they were trying to deal with the situation and they got it wrong - but Davey as the senior member of the team was responsible for what happened and therefore I took the decision this morning."

Whitmarsh said a decision about Ryan's future would be made when the team returned from the Malaysian GP.

"Davey has been sent home, and during the course of this weekend we need to understand exactly what happened and make the decision about Davey's future."

Whitmarsh also suggested further action could be taken, and did not rule out resigning himself over the matter.

When asked if he had considered stepping down, Whitmarsh said: "I think there are a lot of things going through my mind today as you can imagine, and it has happened during an event where we are trying to do the best job we can.

"I think as a team at the moment we have lost someone who is a significant anchor in this organisation and we have to make sure we pull together to do the best job we can this weekend. I think we have to reflect on anything that happened over the course of the Australian GP weekend after this race has finished."

He added: "I don't rule anything in or out. At the moment what we are keen and earnest to do today is make sure we put our hands up - and say there was a serious error of judgement during that process and we sure we come clean on that."

Hamilton has called a special press conference for Sepang this afternoon to explain his role in the events that took place in Australia last week.

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