30 Apr 2009

McLaren let off with suspended three-race ban

7:26 am on 30 April 2009

Lewis Hamilton's Formula One title defence remains alive after his McLaren team were handed a suspended three-race ban for lying to a race stewards inquiry at the season opening Australian Grand Prix.

The International Automobile Federation said after last night's hearing in Paris that the contrite way in which McLaren's boss Martin Whitmarsh had apologised for the team's behaviour was taken into account.

A three-race suspension would have dealt a hammer blow to Hamilton's dwindling hopes of retaining the title, with the 24-year-old already 22 points behind compatriot Jenson Button after four of the 17 races.

The suspension will be lifted only if further facts emerge regarding the case, or if in the next 12 months there is a further breach by the team.