Woking, Tuesday: Sources at the McLaren Formula One team have confirmed that a recent viral advert featuring world champion Lewis Hamilton, although fake, gives a crucial insight into the operation of one of F1’s (sometimes) most successful teams.

Remote control: World champion Lewis Hamilton
Remote control: World champion Lewis Hamilton

Some of the more credulous inhabitants of the Internet have mistaken the video, which shows Lewis Hamilton remotely piloting his McLaren car, for genuine footage, though our anonymous team source confirmed to us that it was, in fact, “clever use of lighting and some Vodafone-inspired ingenuity” used in the film’s production to create the illusion of a remote-controlled F1 car.

The source admitted, however, that there was a grain of truth in the video. “All good satire is based on fact,” he told The Runoff Area, quite unnecessarily. “The idea of remotely controlling a Formula One car is unrealistic based on current technologies, though it is fairly common knowledge in F1 circles that Lewis Hamilton is himself remotely controlled from outside the cockpit.”

Enthusiastic F1 “technical expert” Barry Spanner was on hand to vociferously point out the evidence for Hamilton’s unusual condition: “Look at the metronomic laps he does – that could not be achieved by a mere human. And sometimes his movements seem unusually forced and robotic.

“Furthermore, look at his demeanour in press conferences. A non-remote-controlled person would be able to say things other than thanking the team and meticulously describing the race. The evidence is incontrovertible – Lewis Hamilton is operated by remote control.”

Who is responsible for controlling the world champion on race weekends is not yet clear, though his occasional mistakes last year such as driving into the back of Fernando Alonso in Bahrain and Kimi Raikkonen in Canada have been attributed to “technical glitches.” McLaren have not ruled out the possibility that these could have been caused by “malicious software” downloaded onto the team’s ECU, though given that McLaren themselves build the ECU this seems unlikely.

Hamilton was unavailable for comment due to what a McLaren press officer called “routine downtime.”