Whincup defends in-race penalties after Baird error

Craig Baird admitted that Anton De Pasquale should not have been penalised for this incident

Jamie Whincup insists that stewards should strive to make penalties in-race despite Craig Baird’s erroneous call to issue a drive-through penalty to Anton De Pasquale in Race 29.

Baird, the Driving Standards Advisor, admitted fault for the decision to penalise De Pasquale when he was taken out by Shane van Gisbergen at the first corner of the primary drivers’ sprint race at the Penrite Oil Sandown 500.

He cited a desire to see penalties settled during races rather than at some point afterwards as the reason for the quick but incorrect determination.

Whincup, who was elected onto the Supercars Commission last month, agrees with Baird’s philosophy, reasoning that post-race investigations lead to “dead feelings”.

“I think so,” said the Red Bull Holden Racing Team driver, and van Gisbergen’s team-mate, when asked if he wanted to see such calls made in-race.

“I think we (should) try to make the call as quick as we possibly can.

“You’ve got to think of what the side effect is and that’s people standing on podiums with an inquiry still to go, no one’s celebrating, it’s just this dead feeling. So we want to try to avoid that as much as we possibly can.”

Whincup, who made stinging comments about Race Control after its mistaken Safety Car deployment at Pukekohe in September, also stood up for Baird and the rest of the officials.

The seven-time champion was made to observe Race Control as part of the punishment for his remarks, which left him with a greater appreciation of the complexity of their task.

“Bairdo, we’re very lucky to have,” he added.

“After my poor comments in New Zealand, I got an opportunity to spend some time in Race Control at Bathurst and I was blown away by how much was going on.

“We’re flat out trying to control two cars in our garage; they’ve got 25 cars to control, the flag marshals, the recovery crews… It’s unbelievable.

“No one’s going to go through the year without making any mistakes, but for Bairdo to put his hand up and say, ‘Hey, I got it wrong,’ like what we see in the AFL, I think it’s fantastic.

“I think it takes a big man to do that and he performed really well.”

Supercars introduced Hawk-Eye technology last year in order to allow Race Control to access replays and other footage independently of broadcast operations at the track and therefore make quicker decisions.

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