Formula One Management chairman Bernie Ecclestone has said that McLaren essentially committed ”fraud” by lying to stewards in Australia, and that the consequences could be serious for the team.
The sport’s commercial rights holder, who has nothing to do with the World Motor Sport Council before which McLaren is due to appear on 29 April, nevertheless expressed concern that the team could be banned.
“It is about stealing a point and a place but those are worth money so basically it is fraud, although I am sure it started off more innocently without thought of the consequences,” the empresario told the Daily Express.
“There are many options open if the charge sticks and it would be a terrible thing if any team were banned from races. But it could happen.
“It is not so long ago that McLaren were in front of the Council and it is never good for anyone if you are back in court quickly for something similar,” he finished ominously.
The McLaren team principal Martin Whitmarsh has batted away speculation that he will resign if the FIA find the decision to mislead the stewards was sanctioned by other senior members of the team. Up to now, only sporting director Dave Ryan has been sacked by the team, but more resignations or sackings could follow depending on what is revealed by the WMSC.