DJR Team Penske managing director Ryan Story has accepted “full and complete responsibility” for its breach of the International Sporting Code which incurred a record fine and maximum points penalty.
The Ford team which won the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 courtesy of its #17 Mustang of Scott McLaughlin/Alexandre Premat has been fined $250,000 ($100,000 suspended) and stripped of 300 teams’ championship points for the indiscretion.
The #12 Mustang of Fabian Coulthard/Tony D’Alberto which was at the centre of the drama was furthermore relegated from sixth to 21st (last classified finisher) having already had to serve a drive-through penalty for breaching Safety Car procedures.
Story had testified that had he heard the communication between Car #12’s engineer and driver during the Safety Car period in question and realised how much the gap between the two DJRTP cars, which ran second and third, had blown out, he would have intervened, and stewards found him to be “credible” on that point.
The stewards report also reveals that Story’s headset has inputs from the Race Management Channel, both cars’ engineers, DJRTP’s team manager, and its chief strategist, which potentially ‘overlap’.
While a short statement which expressed acceptance of the decision had already been issued last Sunday, when the decision was released, Story has accepted responsibility for the breach as the head of the team.
“As a team, we accepted the penalties that were issued by the stewards, but as team principal of DJR Team Penske and leader of the team, I accept full and complete responsibility for what happened at Bathurst,” said Story on Fox Sports’ Supercars Trackside.
“Moving on from that, our focus is on the races this weekend and the remaining races of the 2019 season.”
Stewards did not determine who ultimately gave the instruction which Mark Fenning, the engineer of Car #12, delivered to Coulthard during the race, but did form a view that Fenning was “merely a conduit”.
They further added, “we are unable to reach any conclusion other than that someone else in the DJRTM (sic) Team conceived of a strategy to give knowingly false information to the Driver of Car #12 to cause Car #12 to slow.
“The Authorised Representative (Story) told us that he had since made enquiries within the Team to attempt to ascertain what had happened and had been assured by the Engineer of Car #12 that he had made an innocent mistake. We reject that suggestion.”
Car #17 was not penalised in any way after stewards were “prepared to assume that there was no intention to advantage Car #17,” and “(did) not find that there was an attempt to influence the result of the Race”.