Ron Dennis' departure appears to have contributed to the 'slap on the wrist' penalty given to McLaren by the World Motor Sport Council.

Ron Dennis' departure appears to have contributed to the 'slap on the wrist' penalty given to McLaren by the World Motor Sport Council.

After Wednesday's 'lie-gate' hearing in Paris, both new team boss Martin Whitmarsh and FIA president Max Mosley indicated that it was the recent departure of more than one McLaren figure that led council members to suspend the intended three-race ban.

"Anyone involved in a decision to mislead the stewards has now left," Whitmarsh - who turned 51 on the same day - was quoted as saying by British newspapers.

Team manager Dave Ryan was sacked over the affair, but until now it has not been clear that Dennis' similar departure was related to his involvement in the handling of the Jarno Trulli safety car incident.

"WMSC members were convinced that the comment (by Whitmarsh) alluded to Dennis' complicity," a writer for the Daily Mail surmised.

Speaking to reporters after the hearing, Mosley seemed to back Whitmarsh's suggestion that Ryan was not the only person involved in the decision to lie to stewards in Australia and Malaysia.

Responding to claims the suspended ban is a mere slap on the wrist, the FIA president said: "I don't think they escaped lightly because in the end there were decisions taken by people who are no longer involved."

F1 chief executive Bernie Ecclestone, also present, said it was Whitmarsh's totally contrite manner in front of the council that "saved" McLaren.

"They got a slap but that was fair. It's good for everybody," he added.

Mercedes' Norbert Haug also said the suspended ban was a "fair outcome".

 

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