McLaren has defended telling Lewis Hamilton to turn his engine off on the slowing down lap after Canadian Grand Prix qualifying, even though its actions earned it a fine and have led to suggestions from rival teams about it being unfair.
Teams have to ensure that there is one litre of fuel left in the car after qualifying for the FIA to be able to take a sample.
But, with Hamilton having less fuel that originally intended owing to a miscommunication during qualifying, the team realized after he had set pole position that if he returned to the pits he could run short.
The team told him to stop his car which, although not a breach of the rules, did go against a directive from the race director about a maximum time for returning to the pits. McLaren was reprimanded and fined $10,000, but avoided any grid penalty.
Although rival team principal Ross Brawn suggested that getting away with just a fine "sounded cheap," McLaren insists that its priority was to ensure it did not breach the fuel regulations.
"We have complied with the regulations," said team principal Martin Whitmarsh. "We didn't set out to do this, and it is not Lewis' fault.
"A mistake was made, and we had a choice. We could have got back to the garage but having done so we would have been short of fuel for the sample, so we chose the decision that the regulations require us to provide the sample. We felt that was the dominant requirement rather than the FIA memo, which isn't a regulation and just talks about the lap time that comes back.
"There is nothing in the regulations that says you have to come back after qualifying to the garage If you break down, if the wheel had fallen off, then those things happen."
Whitmarsh played down talk that the fact McLaren had got away with just a fine could set a precedent for other teams to start running marginal on fuel in future events.
"I think they would run the risk of it being decided that it was systematic, and you then run the risk of what are the opinion of the stewards on the day. I don't think it will happen en masse."
McLaren confirmed that the FIA was able to extract enough fuel from Hamilton's car to be able to evaluate a sample.