KUALA LUMPUR // McLaren face the threat of serious sanctions after being summoned to appear before an extraordinary meeting of the World Motor Sport Council in Paris on April 29. The team are deemed to be in breach of the FIA's International Sporting Code relating to the recent 'lie-gate' saga surrounding world champion Lewis Hamilton's exclusion from the Australian Grand Prix.It is the third time McLaren have been hauled before the WMSC in less than two years, with the last hearing resulting in the Woking-based team being handed a sporting record £49.2million (Dh266m) fine following the 'spy-gate' furore.
Sunday's race in Malaysia was red-flagged after just 32 of the 56 laps as a tropical storm and torrential downpour made conditions too dangerous for drivers. A later start of 5pm local time (1pm UAE time) - a compromise with Formula One Management (FOM) after deciding not to stage a night race - meant organisers ran out of daylight and were unable to complete the race. "We definitely need to propose a more suitable time for our race," the Sepang International Circuit's chief executive officer Razlan Razali said. "The issue here is whether we have enough daylight, and on Sunday this was not the case," he said.
The decision to start the race two hours later than previous years met the demands of F1's decision makers who want to attract bigger television audiences in Europe. But in the event drivers were left unable to complete the race and fans were short-changed. The race winner Jenson Button and other point-scoring finishers were awarded just half-points. Razali added that race organisers had already discussed reverting to a 3pm local start time, or moving the start back one hour to 4pm.
* With agencies