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HomeNewsMcLaughlin issues statement on IndyCar DSQ

McLaughlin issues statement on IndyCar DSQ

SCOTT McLaughlin has leapt to the defence of Team Penske, declaring an innocent mistake was behind the disqualification which has sent him to the bottom of the IndyCar standings.

IndyCar announced overnight that McLaughlin and teammate Josef Newgarden had been excluded from last month’s season-opening St. Petersburg race. The duo had finished third and first, respectively.

Fellow Team Penske driver Will Power meanwhile copped a 10-point penalty but was not disqualified and thus moved up from fourth to second in the classification. A $25,000 fine was also applied to all three entries.

The penalties relate to a push-to-pass restart breach, as explained below in communications from the American open-wheel series:

An extensive review of data from the race on the Streets of St. Petersburg revealed that Team Penske manipulated the overtake system so that the No. 2, 3 and 12 cars had the ability to use Push to Pass on starts and restarts.

According to the INDYCAR rulebook, use of overtake is not available during championship races until the car reaches the alternate start-finish line.

It was determined that the No. 2 (Newgarden) and the No. 3 (McLaughlin) gained a competitive advantage by using Push to Pass on restarts while the No. 12 (Power) did not.

Team Penske accepted the punishment, which has demoted Newgarden to 11th in the points and McLaughlin to 29th.

“Unfortunately, the Push to Pass software was not removed as it should have been, following recently completed hybrid testing in the Team Penske Indy cars,” Team Penske president Tim Cindric conceded.

McLaughlin has now responded to the news and attached fallout with a statement posted to social media.

“First and foremost, I am proud to be a member of Team Penske,” wrote the three-time Supercars champion.

“I fully stand with every one of my teammates. Simply put, a mistake was made. I have the highest level of integrity and it is important to protect both my own reputation and that of the team.

“I was not aware of the situation with the software. In this instance, I used a single, very brief (1.9 second) deployment of push to pass in a section of the track (at the) exit of turn 9 where it is typically utilised throughout the race.

“I hit the button out of habit, but I did not pass any cars nor did I gain any time advantage. The data, which INDYCAR has, confirms all of this information.

“While I accept the penalty, I want to be clear that I did not gain an advantage over my competitors.

“IndyCar’s competition is the best in the world and I would take no pleasure in achieving success in any way other than honestly. We will all press forward from here and focus on the task at hand this weekend in Barber.”

McLaughlin is in his fourth full IndyCar season.

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