Lee Holdsworth has stated that he wants harsher penalties handed out where it’s determined a rule was intentionally broken, such as Jamie Whincup’s most recent Safety Car incident.
Having stopped early, the Tickford Racing driver was close behind Whincup when they caught the Safety Car, deployed for a slow moving David Reynolds at Turn 8.
Making a near split second decision, Whincup elected to pass the Safety Car despite it showing orange lights, while Holdsworth did not.
Whincup was able to race back around and catch the Safety Car again, by then as the official leader of the race, before being handed a drive-through penalty for the incident.
“No disrespect to Jamie or Triple Eight, (but) I want to call for a different penalty for when a rule is broken intentionally,” Holdsworth said on Fox Sports’ The Loud Pedal podcast.
“When Whincup passed the Safety Car obviously he knew that was wrong; (he) passed it without the green light coming on.
“Why is there not a difference between intentionally breaking the rules and unintentionally breaking the rules?
“There is when you drive, in terms of driving infringements; there’s careless driving and there’s reckless driving.
“So why not, when a rule is broken like the Safety Car… Jamie got a pit lane penalty for intentionally driving past the Safety Car.
“The next time it happens, I think the driver should be excluded from the race, or there should be demerits. (There should be) some kind of system that makes the driver think twice about doing it.
“Where Jamie passed the Safety Car, got his drive-through penalty which really didn’t do much for him in terms of the penalty compared to the penalty that I served by sitting behind the Safety Car…
“I want to see a difference between intentional and unintentional rule breaking.”
Whincup was in fact asked to explain his behaviour in New Zealand to CAMS, although the governing body’s post-event ire concerned his comments about the commitment and professionalism of Race Control, for which he has since apologised.
While Whincup’s boss at the Red Bull Holden Racing Team, Roland Dane, is adamant that Race Control erred in their handling of the Safety Car at Pukekohe, he has also acknowledged that Whincup was wrong to pass the Safety Car and criticise officials in such a manner.
Ironically, the seven-time Supercars champion was penalised for a similar on-track incident at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 in 2015, although on that occasion he believed that he had been shown green lights permitting him to pass the Safety Car.
He also attracted a drive-through penalty for the same transgression at this year’s Bathurst 12 Hour, but that was rescinded when officials realised that they had in fact made a mistake.