FIA clears McLaren in Monaco GP investigation

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Formula One's governing body cleared the McLaren team of any wrongdoing on Wednesday in its 1-2 finish at the Monaco Grand Prix.

Updated: June 01, 2007 17:15 IST
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Formula One's governing body cleared the McLaren team of any wrongdoing on Wednesday in its 1-2 finish at the Monaco Grand Prix.

FIA opened an investigation on Monday into possible rules violations after the team ordered Lewis Hamilton not to challenge Fernando Alonso in Sunday's race. Alonso finished first, 4.095 seconds ahead of Hamilton.

FIA dropped the case on Wednesday after studying the radio traffic between the team and its drivers and the FIA observer's report from the race.

"It is clear that McLaren's actions during the 2007 Monaco Grand Prix were entirely legitimate and no further action is necessary," FIA said in a statement.

FIA banned so-called "team orders" after Rubens Barrichello was told by Ferrari to allow teammate Michael Schumacher to pass him to win the 2002 Austrian GP. Ferrari was fined $1 million.

McLaren team principal Ron Dennis said after Sunday's race he asked Hamilton to slow down because of the tight street circuit in Monte Carlo.

FIA ruled on Wednesday that the team and drivers did nothing wrong.

"It is standard procedure for a team to tell its drivers to slow down when they have a substantial lead," the statement said. "This is in order to minimize the risk of technical or other problems. It is also standard practice and entirely reasonable to ask the drivers not to put each other at risk.

"McLaren were able to pursue an optimum team strategy because they had a substantial advantage over all other cars. They did nothing which could be described as interfering with the race result."

Alonso, Hamilton share lead

Alonso, the two-time defending F1 champion, and Hamilton, a rookie driver, are tied atop the standings with 38 points after five races. McLaren leads the constructors' championship with 75 points, ahead of Ferrari with 56.

"A lot of people in England will feel there is some favoritism or penalty that is given to Lewis, but we are scrupulously fair at all times in the grand prix team," Dennis said earlier this week. "I don't like to slow drivers down, I don't like them to be frustrated, I don't like to see these things happen because I am an absolute racer, but it is the way you have to win the Monaco Grand Prix."

Hamilton said on Sunday he understood why he was asked to slow down, but was not entirely comfortable with it.

"There was no point in pressuring (Alonso) into a mistake, and then when he did make a mistake, crash into him. So it was best to finish one-two," Hamilton said. "But to be honest, I pushed as I could to the end. I never give up, no matter what, and so I didn't really take too much notice and I kept going."

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