McLaughlin unconcerned by team orders saga

  • Virgin Australia Supercars Championship
  • |
  • 14/10/2019
  • By Stefan Bartholomaeus

Scott McLaughlin is unconcerned by the team orders controversy involving his squad at the Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000, saying it’ll “sort itself out”.

Shell V-Power Racing has been charged with breaching rules prohibiting team orders after instructing Fabian Coulthard to slow excessively under Safety Car.

The result of Sunday’s race therefore remains provisional ahead of a stewards hearing that is set to take place next week, prior to the Vodafone Gold Coast 600.

While McLaughlin’s win is technically unconfirmed until the results are final, a fine or teams’ championship penalty are thought to be the most likely outcomes if the team is found guilty.

Third-placed Coulthard slowed dramatically under the lap 135 yellows, dropping 47 seconds to his second-placed teammate McLaughlin from Turns 6 to pitlane.

That enabled McLaughlin and leader Jamie Whincup to pit and rejoin the circuit in the top two positions, unchallenged by any rival behind who had held a fuel advantage.

Asked on Monday if the investigation is a worry or a concern, McLaughlin said: “Nah, in some ways it’s just one of those things, you have to get on with it.

“I didn’t know anything about it until the press conference after the race.

“We did our bit. We had a fast car, we won the race, so we’ll just get on with it, it’ll sort itself out.”

Speaking to the television broadcast immediately after the incident, Shell team boss Ryan Story pointed to Coulthard’s overheating engine as an explanation for his heavily reduced speed.

That interview and radio recordings to and from Coulthard’s car were referenced by officials as key evidence in the decision to investigate the situation.

Fox Sports has today released clippings of the radio conversations, including some of the instructions given by engineer Mark Fenning to Coulthard.

The Safety Car in question was called for Alexander Rossi’s Commodore becoming stranded in the Murray’s Corner gravel trap.

Instructions for Coulthard to go slowly included calls of “debris”, “I don’t know where the incident is” and “I think it’s on the Mountain somewhere, slowdown”.

The radio clip also included audio from Shane van Gisbergen to his engineer, with the Kiwi declaring “Fabian needs a penalty… that was shocking”.

Well placed on fuel, van Gisbergen was one of the most heavily impacted by the drama, with the team initially having told him to stay out before changing its strategy due to the situation.

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