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HomeNewsMSR penalised for Gold Coast tech breach

MSR penalised for Gold Coast tech breach

MATT Stone Racing has been docked teams’ championship points and ordered to delete data as part of a multifaceted penalty for a technical breach at the Boost Mobile Gold Coast 500.

The team was found to have logged damper position data on Todd Hazelwood’s #35 entry at 50Hz instead of the regulated 25Hz.

As a result, the car was disqualified from both Practice 1 and 2, penalised five grid spots for the Saturday race and docked 50 teams’ championship points.

Stewards also declared that “the data recorded from Car 35 in breach of the Rule is to be deleted from the Competitor’s computer systems”.

Team owner Matt Stone explained the breach was an oversight while resetting other logging rates following the Repco Bathurst 1000.

“It was a technical oversight by an inexperienced crew member,” Stone told V8 Sleuth.

“We lower the logging rates of some of the sensors (for which logging rates are free) for Bathurst to ensure they log the full distance of the race.

“Then in transferring them back to the standard rates for this weekend the wrong channel was adjusted, hence we breached a technical rule.

“Supercars picked up on it, informed us and we accepted fault.”

Officials initially moved to impose a rear-of-grid penalty for today’s Race 31 as part of the sanctions, which was downgraded to a five-place penalty.

“We went to the stewards to discuss (the severity),” continued Stone.

“We had a robust discussion with them, to which they then made it slightly more lenient than it originally was.

“The severity of it, being disqualified for practice, is absolutely fair.

“Their worry was that someone could write off a practice session in order to gain a technical advantage, so the penalty needed to be more severe, hence the grid penalties and the teams points as well.

“Obviously 50 teams’ points is a lot. But we respect the due process of the stewards and their decision.”

The grid penalty discussion was ultimately moot, as a mistake from Hazelwood in qualifying left him 24th in the order, meaning the five-place penalty has him starting last.

See below for the Stewards reasons in full

The Stewards heard from the DRDs (David Mori and James Delzoppo) and the Competitor’s Authorised Representatives (Matt Stone and Peter Vale).

The Authorised Representatives admitted the facts alleged and accepted that it amounted to a breach of the Rule but wished to make submissions on the Penalty to be applied. The Hearing proceeded on that basis.

The DRDs submitted the Penalty to be applied should be disqualification of Car 35 from both Practice Sessions and further that Car 35 start from rear of grid for Race 31.

The Authorised Representatives accepted that disqualification of Car 35 from the two Practice sessions was appropriate and that an additional penalty is warranted but submitted the penalty of starting from rear of grid put forward by the DRDs would be too harsh and submitted that the Stewards should take the following factors into account when determining what further Penalties to apply:

a)  The Competitor has engaged junior engineers to staff their Team. It was one of these engineers who was responsible for resetting the parameters for the data logging on Car 35 from the prior Event. The engineers are still undertaking their studies and so are inexperienced. The engineer made an error in the setting of the damper logging rate.

b)  The Competitor was unaware until contacted by Supercars Technical that the data was being logged at a rate greater than is permitted by the Rules. They assured the Stewards that the data had not yet been analysed by their engineering team.

c) The Competitor undertook to the Stewards to allow Supercars Technical to supervise and/or undertake the deletion of the relevant data from its systems.

d)  This was an unintentional error on their part. There was no direction from the Competitor to log the data at that rate, but it is accepted that the Competitor is responsible for the error.

e)  The Competitor is aware that Supercars Technical receive and monitor all telemetry data being logged and transmitted from the Cars and so it is inconceivable for them to think that Supercars would not discover any breach of the logging Rules.

f)  Starting from the rear of grid is too harsh because of all of the above factors and there is no incentive for Car 35 to compete in Qualifying (and the flow on impact of that, plus the penalty, will have on its reputation in relation to commercial sponsorships etc).

Despite the above, a penalty of disqualification from the Practice Sessions only is an insufficient penalty. A greater penalty for the breach (as above) is still warranted. The Stewards consider the penalties applied in this situation fits the breach.

It is important for the Stewards to record that their decision about the penalties applied in this instance is based on their acceptance as to the truth of the Competitor’s representations as to the above matters and this amounted to an oversight on their part by a junior, inexperienced team member and not any deliberate attempt to record data in breach of the prescribed rate and that the data had not been analysed.

It is also important to record that this decision should not be taken as a precedent by any Competitor as to the likely penalty that would be applied by the Stewards for any breach of this Rule in the future. It is important that the penalty be appropriate for the extent of the breach in the accepted circumstances. Should there be evidence that the data had been analysed, a greater penalty would have been applied.

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