McLaren face WMSC; Hamilton talks quitting

It seems Lewis Hamilton has had time to reflect over the last couple weeks on the dilemma that is the lying issue of the Australian Grand Prix. As you may recall Lewis Hamilton was involved in lying to the race Stewards at the Australian Grand Prix and this has prompted a hearing before the World Motor Sport Council on Wednesday. The world is anxiously awaiting the verdict and it now appears that Martin Whitmarsh will face the WMSC alone with no other McLaren folks present. “I will go into the hearing alone. But I have yet to take the advice of the stakeholders and the FIA,” Whitmarsh said in Bahrain on Sunday. “It’s not a complicated hearing. We have chosen not to contest the charges and that makes the process simpler,” he added.(Source GMM)

The FIA have worded the accusations in such a way as to all but exonerate Lewis Hamilton of any wrong doing:

* 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.

Many have asked me what I think the ruling will be come Wednesday and while the notion of race bans has been thrown about; I feel this will only hurt Lewis even more and damage F1 to have two cars missing from the grid. While in the booming years and with lesser-known drivers perhaps this would have been an easy choice but it is a bad economy, the grid was narrowly filled to begin with and Lewis Hamilton is not a lesser-known driver; he is the current World Champion. The FIA could still decide to rule race bans as punishment with a large sum of cash because they know they run the risk of being hypocritical if they take it easy on Lewis and McLaren for something they made such a big deal out of. Not wanting to seem improper, they could be forced to throw the book at McLaren, ban them for a race or more and this will hurt Lewis Hamilton. They have already tried everything they can to absolve Lewis of any wrong doing but now they have created their own mess.

Lewis on the other hand has spoken about his possible exit from F1 in the aftermath of the “lie-gate” issue:

“I wasn’t 100 per cent sure I wanted to be here for the next five years,” the Briton told the BBC.

“There was so much going on. Do I want to be in the limelight with people slating me? Do I want be in the spotlight where I can’t even go to go to the fish and chip shop or the cinema and have fun without people taking pictures of me?”

“My commitment should never be questioned because I’m very committed to the sport and I’m very, very committed to my team,” he said.

But Hamilton said his questionable commitment when addressing the media a week ago in China was “because I wasn’t 100 per cent sure I would be here (in F1) for the next five years”.

Apparently the luster of being an F1 pilot has gone:

“I love driving the car. I love my job. But when you’re surrounded by politics and all these different things going on, you know …” said Hamilton.

So when things got dicey; you decided it was better to run from the sport and use that threat to get your way with the FIA and Max Mosley, including exoneration for personally lying the the race Stewards, instead of working with the team for a resolution or being your own man and refusing to lie? You felt your father’s consternation with Ron Dennis was fine and that Ron’s resignation was a good idea for McLaren? Your father is in over his head on the politics I am afraid. All I can say is…welcome tot he big leagues, son. You’ll need to do better than this is you are to survive the manic world of F1.

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