Lewis apologises; Ryan takes bullet as senior team member

lrg-import- mg 4878Lewis Hamilton has apologised for his part in the post-race stewards meeting at which he and McLaren Mercedes’ sporting director Dave Ryan ”misled” the FIA.

The world champion was contrite as he appeared in a special press conference he had called to explain himself this afternoon in Malaysia.

“I d like to say sorry to all my fans who have believed in me and supported me for years. I am not a liar. I am not a dishonest person. I am a team player. Every time I have had to do something I have done it. This time it was a huge mistake. I am learning from it. It has had a huge toll for me. It was a lot to deal with. I was in the wrong and I feel I owe it to my fans to let them know that. Like I said I was misled.

“We went straight there and while we were waiting I was instructed what to do. I did not have time to think about what I was going to do. I felt awkward and very uncomfortable and I think the stewards could see that. I am not a liar.”

Ryan today was suspended by team principal Martin Whitmarsh in the wake of the FIA’s disqualification of Lewis Hamilton from the Australian Grand Prix. Ryan, who has risen through the ranks since joining McLaren in 1974, was a key senior figure and accompanied Hamilton to the post-race stewards meeting at which the two gave ”misleading” evidence.

Earlier today Whitmarsh laid the blame squarely at Ryan’s door, because he was the senior team member present and presumably had instructed Hamilton about what to say.

“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.”

McLaren Suspend Their Sporting Director

McLaren logoThe controversy following the first race of the Formula One 2009 season has claimed it s first victim in the form of a top McLaren official. Sporting director Dave Ryan has been suspended after 35 years with the team.

A statement from the Woking based team reads, “This morning, Dave Ryan was suspended from his position as sporting director of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team.”

Martin Whitmarsh, team principal at McLaren said, “In my 20 odd years working for McLaren I doubt if I have met a more dedicated individual that Davey. He has been an integral part of McLaren since 1974 and has played a crucial role in the team s many world championship successes since that time. However his role in the events of last Sunday, particularly his dealings with the FIA stewards, has caused serious repercussions for the team for which we apologise. Therefore, I suspended him this morning and he has accepted this.”

Discuss Whitmarsh’s decision on our forums here.