Apr 2 2009
Lewis Hamilton faces the threat of suspension or disqualification from the Formula One world championship after being caught lying to FIA race stewards.
Just four days after one of the drives of his career to finish third in Sunday's Australian Grand Prix, Hamilton was on Thursday excluded from the classification.
Hamilton was elevated from fourth to third by the stewards due to Jarno Trulli being handed a 25-second penalty for passing the reigning world champion behind the safety car late on. But in the light of further evidence, notably radio transmissions between Hamilton and the pit wall, and in an interview given by the 24-year-old soon after race, he has been caught out.
Hamilton and McLaren have been accused of acting "in a manner prejudicial to the conduct of the event by providing evidence deliberately misleading to the stewards" at the hearing on Sunday.
In re-opening the investigation, stewards at a further hearing in Malaysia ahead of Sunday's race at the Sepang circuit have taken the appropriate sanction against Hamilton they felt was necessary.
However, the situation contravenes the International Sporting Code and is viewed as so grave that the FIA have it within their power to pursue the matter further.
A FIA spokesperson confirmed: "Given the seriousness of this matter, we cannot rule out further action at this stage."
As Hamilton has been excluded from the race at Melbourne's Albert Park, should motor sport's world governing body take up the case, only two additional punishments are open to them.
One would be to suspend Hamilton from a further race or races, or alternatively they could disqualify him from the championship altogether.