Monday, Oct 21 06:55pm
AUTHOR: Simon Chapman

CAMS had “no authority” to hand out heavier penalty to DJRTP

The 300-point penalty given to DJR Team Penske by CAMS was the maximum that could be given, but the monetary fine fell short of the limit. 


Drivers and fans alike have blown up on social media in the wake of the decision by the Confederation of Australian Motor Sport (CAMS), suggesting that a Bathurst 1000 win can be bought.


The team responsible for Scott McLaughlin and Fabian Coulthard in the Virgin Australia Supercars Championship were handed a $250,000 fine – $100,000 of it suspended to December 2021 – for the Lap 135 drama under Safety Car during this year’s Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000.


As has been well documented, McLaughlin and co-driver Alex Premat went on to win the race controversially. Meanwhile, Coulthard and Tony D’Alberto were relegated from sixth to 21st in the final finishing order following a CAMS inquiry.


DJR Team Penske was stripped of 300 points in the Teams’ Championship – equivalent to McLaughlins win – and Coulthard fell to fourth in the Drivers’ Championship as a result of his demotion down the order.


There were some reports before the finalized decision released on 20 October that indicated the team could be disqualified from the Teams’ Championship. It appears that was not an option for CAMS. 


However, a maximum AUD 400,000 fine could have been given to the team. The fine handed out falls AUD 150,000 short of that. 


Under the ‘Submissions relevant to Penalty’ in the Stewards Decision released last weekend, CAMS detailed severity of the penalty and their limitations. It also makes reference to the Team Dynamik testing breach from 2004. 

CLICK HERE to read the full decision


“The DRD (Deputy Race Director) submitted that the conduct of DJRTP in giving a direction to the Driver of Car #12 to slow unnecessarily at the result of conferring an unfair advantage on DJRTP in the Race,” the statement read.


“He submitted that the conduct of DJRTP reflects a serious departure from the Obligation of Fairness in the FIA Code of Conduct and that a severe Penalty is warranted. 


“The highest fine ever imposed on a Competitor for any breach of the Supercars Rules is AUD200,000. That concerned a breach of the testing prohibitions. 


“The Stewards have no authority to impose a fine in excess of EUR250,000. Further, under Rule B7.7.2 of the Manual, the Stewards have no power to deduct more than 300 Championship Points from a Team or a Driver. 


“We agreed with the DRD that the conduct of DJRTP demands a severe Penalty, not just because it was intentionally engaged in to give the Team an advantage but because it was done in a way that reflected a calculated attempt to conceal why it was being done.”

AUDIO: DJR Team Penske tell Fabian Coulthard to slow down


CAMS was critical in their assessment of the incident that took place on Lap 135. At the time Fabian Coulthard’s engineer told him to us “extreme caution” for an incident “on the mountain somewhere.”


He also specifically referred to debris, which was incorrectly pronounced debriss. That attracted the ire of the officials who believed the engineer was “speaking to a script.”


CAMS slammed the team given that they should have seen where the no.27 car had gone off at the final corner. They were especially critical given Coulthard was going to come into the pit lane, meaning he didn’t go past the scene of the incident where there was no debris to begin with.


“In our view, it defies belief that no one in DJRTP's garage knew that the reason why the Safety Car deployment had occurred was because Car #27 was off at Turn 23.


“We are prepared to assume that there was no intention to advantage Car #17, however, it defies belief that the Engineer of Car #12 just happened to have formed a mistaken belief that there was debris at some unknown location on the circuit and that just fortuitously resulted in the very problem

anticipated with Car #12 being resolved. 


“We find, and it has been admitted, that in giving the direction to the Driver of Car #12, DJRTP infringed the principles of fairness in competition and behaved in an unsportsmanlike manner.


“We do not find that there was an attempt to influence the result of the Race but it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that the result was affected to a degree, certainly for Car #12 that would otherwise have re-joined the circuit after its pit stop in a much lower position.”


The Virgin Australia Supercars Championship will recommence this weekend on the streets of Surfers Paradise in the Gold Coast 600.