McLaren [ Images ] risk heavy sanctions, including the possibility of being excluded from the Formula One championship, after being summoned to face charges of lying to stewards at the season-opening Australian Grand Prix [ Images ].
The International Automobile Federation (FIA) said in a statement on Tuesday that it had charged the team of world champion Lewis Hamilton [ Images ] with breaching the international sporting code on five counts.
An extraordinary meeting of the FIA's world motor sport council (WMSC) will be held in Paris on April 29, the Wednesday after the fourth round of the championship in Bahrain.
It will be McLaren's third appearance before the WMSC in two years, with the team fined a record $100 million and stripped of all their
constructors' points in 2007 for a spying controversy involving Ferrari [ Images ] data in their possession.
The Mercedes-powered team were also charged with breaches of the same article 151c of the international sporting code on that occasion.
If the charges are upheld and the most extreme sanctions are applied, McLaren could be kicked out of the championship although a fine or points deduction is more likely.
The governing body has not pressed charges against Hamilton and has already made clear that it considers the 24-year-old Briton was put in an impossible position.
Hamilton told a news conference at the Malaysian Grand Prix last week that he was 'misled' by McLaren sporting director Dave Ryan, who told him to withhold information from stewards after last month's season-opening race in Melbourne [ Images ].
McLaren suspended Ryan and said on Tuesday they had now parted company with the New Zealander, who has worked for the team for 35 years and latterly occupied a key role.
The team also said it would "co-operate fully with all WMSC processes" and said they welcomed "the opportunity to work with the FIA in the best interests of Formula One."
Trulli went off the track and Hamilton went past, only to be told to give the place back by Ryan who was concerned the driver had taken it
Hamilton slowed and Trulli re-took the position, only to face a stewards enquiry at which Hamilton denied he had received any order to let the Toyota go past. The Briton was promoted to third and Trulli demoted to
The Italian was reinstated and McLaren excluded at a second hearing at the next race in Malaysia when new evidence came to light that the stewards had been misled.
The FIA charged McLaren on Tuesday with making a statement to the stewards that they knew to be untrue in both Australia [ Images ] and Malaysia.
They also accused the team of having "procured its driver Hamilton... to support and confirm this untrue statement to the stewards" in both hearings.
In addition, it said the team knew that "as a direct result of its untrue statement to the stewards, another driver and a rival team had been unfairly penalised" but made no attempt to rectify the situation.