SVG ‘entitled to his opinion’ says Macauley Jones

Macauley Jones Shane van Gisbergen

Macauley Jones

Macauley Jones has weighed into the saga around Shane van Gisbergen’s silent treatment at the Thrifty Newcastle 500, saying Supercars drivers should be able to express their opinions.

Van Gisbergen created controversy when he effectively refused to answer questions on television and in the press conference after his victory in Race 2 of the Repco Supercars Championship.

While that was initially interpreted/portrayed by Fox Sports commentator – and RACE board member – Mark Skaife as sulking over the disqualification from Race 1, the three-time Supercars champion later confirmed that he was in fact keeping his opinions to himself because of blowback from “top brass” over concerns he has raised about the new Gen3 cars.

It was in the same press conference that David Reynolds told journalists, “They don’t want us to say anything negative,” ‘they’ being left open to speculation but most likely referring to Skaife, who made light on television only a day earlier of how the two temporarily “fell out of love” over the Grove Racing driver’s public critique of Gen3.

Speaking on the Brad Jones Racing Run Down podcast, Macauley Jones opined that constructive criticism should be welcomed.

“It is a bit of a controversial one,” he said.

“I think what SVG did with the press conference, and not really answering questions, I don’t really blame him.

“I mean, if he feels like it’s coming across as something that’s very negative about what he’s saying about the car, what needs to be improved… That’s kind of what do we want, to improve everything we’ve got.

“I’d rather hear what he has to say about it,” added Jones.

“And I mean, he and he is the reigning champion; he’s entitled to his opinion.”

The BJR driver noted that the existence of some gripes about brand-new race cars is not surprising, and not new.

“We’re not going to nail it [in] the first rounds,” he declared.

“I mean, shit, a few weeks ago, some people were thinking we weren’t going to make it to the first race.

“It never really happens like that; the Gen2 took a little bit to get that sorted, and then the aero parity wasn’t something that got fixed overnight, and there’s going to be things about these cars that aren’t going to be fixed overnight.

“We sort of had some issues across the weekend that we’ve never had that before – we didn’t have that with the old cars – but when we now have had it, and we’re learning about it, it’s not ideal but there are going to be teething issues.

“For you to not be able to… I guess it comes off as not being positive, but it’s not really [about] being positive, it’s being constructive at times.

“If you’d rather the rinse and repeat answers, then there’s no point having an interview.

“A journalist can just write what the guy’s going to say; they can probably predict what you’re going to say if you want to have the rosy answer.”

It comes as drivers have formed an association, led for now by van Gisbergen, Will Davison, Chaz Mostert, and Cam Waters, to raise problems and potential solutions with Motorsport Australia officials.

The genesis was the dialogue which drivers had over the tyre bundles and kerb sensors which created issues at the Gold Coast last year, with the association still in its embryonic stage.

Meanwhile, Skaife has spoken on the fallout from the Sunday in Newcastle, reiterating that he was critiquing van Gisbergen on his “duty” to be an “ambassador” for the championship.

He also claimed that he was speaking only in his capacity as a television commentator, notwithstanding his position as a board member of Supercars’ parent company and, according to sources, the lead of the Gen3 project.

Skaife has also offered to clear the air with van Gisbergen and Triple Eight Race Engineering ahead of the next event, at the Formula 1 Australian Grand Prix.

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