Bernie Ecclestone thinks McLaren could face a ban from races after being summoned to appear before FIA's World Motor Sport Council for lying to stewards.
McLaren is to face the FIA's WMSC in the week after the Bahrain Grand Prix to answer charges that the team deliberately misled race stewards about Jarno Trulli overtaking Lewis Hamilton behind the safety car at the Australian Grand Prix, and forced Hamilton to lie too.
Although there are a range of sentences available to the FIA, which could be as little as an official reprimand, Ecclestone has not ruled out the possibility of McLaren being suspended.
Speaking to The Daily Express, Ecclestone said: "We need to investigate closer what went on. It is about stealing a point and a place but those are worth money so basically it is fraud, although I am sure it started off more innocently without thought of the consequences.
"There are many options open if the charge sticks and it would be a terrible thing if any team were banned from races. But it could happen.
"It is not so long ago that McLaren were in front of the Council and it is never good for anyone if you are back in court quickly for something similar."