A move by Supercars head of motorsport Adrian Burgess concerning penalties has been aimed to prevent a repeat of last year’s DJR Team Penske Bathurst debacle.
Scott McLaughlin, who won the great race last year, was the beneficiary of a tactical play that saw teammate Fabain Coulthard hold up the field behind a safety car.
McLaughlin and co-driver Premat was at risk of losing their Bathurst victory before Motorsport Australia chief Eugene Arocca ultimately agreed that any type of penalty wasn’t within the regulations.
However, after the Bathurst fiasco, Arocca called for a review of Supercars judicial penalties to give stewards more power to “make a statement”.
Ahead of the upcoming Beaurepaires Melbourne 400, Adrian Burgess has confirmed the judicial rulebook had been overhauled, meaning the stewards were no longer “hemmed in”.
“There is now the ability to have a stronger penalty or probably more a penalty that fits the crime outcome,” Burgess reported to heraldsun.com.au.
“Last year, the stewards were hemmed in a little bit by the rule book in terms of what they could issue as a penalty, so the reference to 300 points has been removed from the rule book.
“It could be now anything up to your season points could be lost, so the stewards have now got a little bit more latitude to make sure that the punishment fits the crime.
“We still refer back to the [FIA] International Sporting Code in instances worse than that, but we believe now that we can control the outcome that we need through our own rule book and don’t really need to go up a level.
“Now the stewards do have a little more flexibility and more room to make sure the punishment is fitting the crime where last year we couldn’t.”
Burgess also said that the sport is transitioning away from dishing “silly penalties” to both teams and drivers.
“We have lessened some of the silly penalties like a wheel nut rolling across the pit lane used to be a pit lane penalty, but does that really fit the crime? We don’t think it does. So we have turned some of those instant pit lane penalties into 15 second time added on stops.”
The second round of the 2020 Supercars championship will be from Albert Park this weekend in conjunction with the Rolex Formula One Australian Grand Prix