The announcement of key decisions is critical and it is the timing of them that can be more important that the actual decisions themselves. Politics is the best example of this. So when a politician makes an announcement, the questions can be more around the timing of it.
The Supercars Stewards penalty announcement last Sunday morning at the Penrite Oil Sandown 500 giving Shell V-Power Racing a $30,000 fine is an example of this. The ruling also relegated #17 Scott McLaughlin to the rear of the grid for the feature race due to an engine breach in qualifying for the Bathurst 1000.
Upon post race inspections of both the qualifying and race engines used by McLaughlin and co-driver Alex Premat at Bathurst, officials deemed that the qualifying engine contravened regulations but the breach was not deliberate (From the decision: ‘In this case there is no evidence from which we could conclude the breach was deliberate or known‘). Hence their Bathurst qualifying time (and record) was disallowed but the race result still stands.
The Supercheap Auto Bathurst 1000 was the first of three Pirtek Enduro Cup rounds, as part of the 2019 Virgin Australia Supercars Championship. The second round being the Vodafone Gold Coast 600 (23-27 October 2019) and the third, the Penrite Oil Sandown 500.
‘The measurements were undertaken on a number of occasions and were witnessed by DJRTP representatives. These measurements were not completed until after the subsequent event, the Gold Coast 600.
The Sunday morning timing of the penalty is arguably about logistics. Measuring of race engines takes time and then all parties need to come together for a hearing which needed to take place before the end of the Pirtek Enduro Cup.
The hearing could not take place until the Sandown round and we don’t know why it didn’t take place before the racing began. If delivered at the beginning of the weekend, would the penalty have made a difference to the Shell V-Power Racing’s approach to the weekend? Undoubtedly so.
Knowing that they would be starting from the back of the grid for Sunday’s 500, one would think that they would have been conservative throughout practice and particularly both in qualifying and the qualifying race.
Sunday morning’s penalty appears to have been for maximum effect.