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McLaren suspend sporting director Ryan

MCLAREN suspended sporting director Dave Ryan today after the Formula One team and world champion Lewis Hamilton were found to have misled stewards at last weekend's Australian season-opener.

"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," said team principal Martin Whitmarsh in a statement.

"Therefore, I suspended him this morning and he has accepted this."

New Zealander Ryan has worked for McLaren since 1974 and has played a key role in the team's many championship successes since then.

"He has been with the team for 35 years and I have personally known him for 20," said Whitmarsh. "Anyone who knows him, knows that he is a very straightforward, dedicated and hardworking individual.

"However, 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 that he gave to the stewards.

"Consequently we had no alternative today other than to suspend him."

Whitmarsh did not say how long Ryan had been suspended for. Hamilton was promoted to third place in Melbourne after stewards ruled at a post-race hearing that Toyota's Jarno Trulli had overtaken him against the rules while the safety car was deployed.

Yesterday the same stewards met again at Sepang to consider a "new element".

Hamilton and McLaren were ruled to have provided deliberately misleading evidence and were excluded from the classification while Trulli was reinstated to the podium.

The governing FIA published a radio conversation between the team and Hamilton as evidence that the team had asked their driver to allow Trulli to overtake, something they had denied to stewards.

"Both the driver and the team manager stated that no such instruction had been given," the FIA said.

"The race director specifically asked Hamilton whether he had consciously allowed Trulli to overtake. Hamilton insisted that he had not done so."


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