Lewis Hamilton working out

McLaren has once again stepped in to prevent Lewis Hamilton from answering a reporter's question about the Adrian Sutil affair.

At the recent launch of the MP4-27 car, a reporter asked Hamilton about his former friend Sutil's accusation he is a "coward" for not appearing as a witness at the recent assault trial in Munich.

"We've been told that Lewis shouldn't really go there because it (the conviction) might go under appeal," the spokesman quickly intervened.

Hamilton smiled: "I'll listen to him."

The Briton's former F3 teammate did indeed file an appeal, but not before Sutil's father Jorge described Hamilton as "pathetic" in the German press.

Asked about the latest insult from the Sutil camp, Hamilton was once again prevented from answering in the Jerez paddock by a McLaren media minder.

"That question is not permitted," the spokesman is quoted as saying by Auto Motor und Sport.

The German magazine article read: "We say that Hamilton should have the courage to speak for himself."

In other courtside F1 news, former Benetton driver JJ Lehto's attempt to appeal his prison sentence for manslaughter got off to a dismal start, the Swiss newspaper Blick reports.

Finn Lehto's lawyer reportedly appeared in court to file the appeal but was "immediately arrested himself, apparently because of money laundering".