These people never learn, do they?
Agents for McLaren's sponsors have reportedly approached the FIA pleading for leniency at next week's WMSC hearing, fearing a "disproportionately large" punishment could see the Woking team forced out of F1.
Yes, and if this pleading does encourage leniency then that will mean that in all future cases, the FIA will have to cow-tow to "pleading" from sponsors.
All the FIA can do here is to show those agents the door and judge the case based on its merits. To allow themselves to be swayed by outside influences just undermines their authority and renders the entire case a sham.
If a large punishment is deemed appropriate then it will send the message to all teams that lying to the stewards will not be tolerated. That, IMHO, is the right message to send. If, however, the message ends up being "well, we would have punished them, but didn't bother because the sponsors cried into their nappies", then it just opens the floodgates and allows everyone to lie knowing that they'll get away with it by getting their sponsors to go on bended knee the plead for leniency.