Wednesday, 30 May 2007

Mclaren in the clear

Formula One's governing body, the FIA, has cleared the Mclaren Mercedes team of any misconduct in Sunday's Monaco Grand Prix.

An investigation was carried out after it emerged that Mclaren had ordered their drivers not to race each other in the second half of the race.

The FIA concluded that Mclaren's actions were "entirely legitimate" on the grounds that asking drivers to slow down when they have a significant lead is a standard practice to reduce the risk of technical problems.

In a statement the regulating body said: "The Vodafone Mclaren Mercedes Team has been cleared of using team orders during last weekend's Monaco Grand Prix.

"The FIA started an investigation after the race, but now decided that Mclaren's actions during the Grand Prix were entirely legitimate."

Ron Dennis, Mclaren team principle, welcomed the ruling.

"The entire team was understandably disappointed that outstanding drives from Both Fernando and Lewis resulting in a great 1-2 victory and Mclaren's 150th win was temporarily tarnished," he said.

"The efficient intervention and subsequent inquiry of the FIA into the allegations of the last three days has removed any doubt about the manner in which the team ran its cars during the 2007 Monaco Grand Prix," he added.

The FIA also ruled out any wrong doing in the decision to bring Lewis Hamilton in early to refuel, attributing the move to a need to preempt the possibility of a safety car deployment.

The decision follows a warning today from F1supremo Bernie Ecclestone that Mclaren could face being docked championship points for their actions.

"If there were orders, they would be getting off lightly if they get the same sort of fine as Ferrari. A fine for McLaren, with its money, would not have the same effect as docking points Ecclestone told the Daily Mail.

But others, including Jackie Stewart have expressed their support the Woking based outfit.

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