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McLaren boss says his future in hands of others

india Updated: Apr 05, 2009 12:00 IST

Reuters
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McLaren boss Martin Whitmarsh said his future was in the hands of Mercedes and other shareholders after a storm over lies told to Formula One stewards.

Asked on Sunday whether he had considered quitting, Whitmarsh told reporters at the Malaysian Grand Prix: “I’m not resigning this weekend.

“In the longer term, I can contemplate my own future. Of course it’s not self-determining. It’s for the shareholders of this team to take a view and they will have to decide what’s the best thing,” he added.

“We’ve made a commitment to look at how we arrived in this situation and we’ve got to learn from it and do a better job. Therefore it would be wrong to rule anything out. I think I’ve got to look at what is the best way forward for this team.”

McLaren are 40 per cent owned by Mercedes, with a further 30 per cent in the hands of Bahrain’s state-owned Mumtalakat holding company and the remaining shares held equally by chairman Ron Dennis and Saudi business partner Mansour Ojjeh.

Mercedes motorsport vice-president Norbert Haug said the German manufacturer would discuss the situation after the weekend.

“I am in permanent contact with Stuttgart ... and of course we will sit down next week,” he said, adding that he personally had “full trust” in Whitmarsh.

“He’s a great guy and runs the team in a very good way.”

Hamilton ‘misled´

The furore erupted on Thursday after stewards reopened an enquiry from the season-opener in Australia where McLaren’s world champion Lewis Hamilton was promoted from fourth to third at the expense of Toyota’s Jarno Trulli.

Trulli was deemed to have overtaken Hamilton illegally while the safety car was deployed but the Italian told stewards that the Briton, who had earlier gone past the Toyota when it skidded wide, had slowed to let him through.

Hamilton denied he had been told to do so but a radio conversation between him and the team during the race showed that not to be the case.

He and McLaren were excluded from the Melbourne results, with Hamilton saying he had been misled by sporting director Dave Ryan. The team could now face further action by the governing body.

McLaren suspended the long-serving New Zealander, who had attended the stewards hearing in Australia and Malaysia, on Friday and Whitmarsh said that had left a huge hole in the team.

“He ran this team, to be frank,” said Whitmarsh. “There are various people that have been the figureheads of this organisation but Davey ran this team. He made the operational decisions, he made it happen.

“To contemplate the future without Davey has been challenging in the extreme.”

Whitmarsh said he had received strong support from within the team and owed it to the 1,000 employees in Britain and Germany to stabilise the situation.

The team boss, who went on holiday after Australia and arrived at Sepang only after Thursday’s meeting with the stewards, admitted he had made mistakes in his handling of the affair.

He said he had spoken to International Automobile Federation (FIA) President Max Mosley but gave few details about the discussion.