Formula 1

Stormy Weather Ahead for McLaren and Lewis Hamilton?

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - APRIL 05:  Lewis Hamilton of Great Britain and McLaren Mercedes drives during the rain curtailed Malaysian Formula One Grand Prix at the Sepang Circuit on April 5, 2009 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.  (Photo by Clive Mason/Getty Images)
Sriraag SubramonianCorrespondent IApril 12, 2009

Just when you think McLaren and Lewis Hamilton are never going to repeat their blunders, another one crops up.

I can't think of any other team that has demanded so much media attention in such a short span of time. They are definitely becoming the media's favourite team.

When Ron Dennis stepped down from the helm, everyone heaved a sigh of relief. The fans believed McLaren could put their past off-track troubles behind them and make a new beginning under a new trusted leader, Martin Whitmarsh.

Things did not get off to a great start in 2009 when the McLarens consistently brought up the bottom of the timesheets in pre-season testing.

The media sensed there was certainly something that was not right with the new MP4-24. Unlike BMW or other teams, McLaren is not a team that is known to sandbag.

The media constantly hounded McLaren with questions regarding their pre-season testing form. This led to key personnel like Martin Whitmarsh and Norbert Haug admit that their 'elegant car,' as Hamilton described it at the launch, was lacking the punch.

This proved to be right in the Australian GP with McLarens struggling in qualifying and Lewis finishing the race in third (well...fourth) oh, disqualified!

Just when things couldn't get worse, the 'lie-gate' scandal trotted in. The FIA are clearly displeased with McLaren and the massive media attention gained by this scandal.

For the second time McLaren is running into major trouble, at least in recent times, with the FIA. 

Lying is a serious offense in the corporate world. Not that nobody lies in the paddock or in the corporate world. It is considered an offense only if it comes to light.

With major corporates like 'Santander/Abbey', 'Vodafone' and 'Johnnie Walker' partnering McLaren this scandal does not bode well either for the team or its partners.

The last thing that corporates like these needed in the economic downturn was their image to be tarnished by a Formula 1 team.

FIA race director Charlie Whiting's recent revelations that he sensed Hamilton lying to the stewards and also Hamilton's private apology to him, only aggravates McLaren's already existing troubles.

Bernie's warning that McLaren could face serious charges like being banned from races adds to the gloom.

It is almost certain that McLaren will face some sort of a punishment. It is just a matter of how harsh it can get.

Hopefully, McLaren and Lewis can keep things together and develop their car in these tough times and provide us with some great racing like they did last year!

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