V8 Supercars reviews penalty system to make the punishment fit the crime

The V8 Supercars Commission has completed a comprehensive review of recommended penalties and made changes to determining the weight of penalties for breaches.

The Commission amended the table of penalties, removing the word "minimum" from its title. It is now a table of recommended penalties, meaning consideration to the consequences of a breach will be deliberated by the IO and stewards in determining any penalty.

The Commission considered each penalty with a view to ensuring the punishment fits the crime. The IO and stewards now have the scope to issue a lesser or more severe penalty than the recommended range, depending on the circumstances of the offence.

"Our stewards do a brilliant job – they are asked to make decisions within the confines which we set and should not be exposed to undue or unfair criticism for working within the parameters they are given," V8 Supercars General Manager of Motorsport Damien White said.

"The first outcome of the review was the fact the penalties table was titled with the word 'minimum', which meant stewards had no flexibility to apply a lesser penalty for particular breaches.

"We have now given a clear mandate to our own Investigating Officer and Driving Standards Observer (Jason Bargwanna), and to the CAMS Stewards that any penalty should be comparable with the offence.

"That means the extent to which a rule is breached may be considered in determining an adjustment (up or down) of the recommended penalties."

One notable change is pit lane speeding offences below 43 km/h between fixed timing loops at the start of pit lane will be investigated post-race by Bargwanna and not subject to an automatic pit lane penalty during a race.

Any speeding offences in pit lane registered on radar guns above 40 km/h will still incur an automatic pit lane penalty, as has been the case.

Another area of debate in the opening events on the 2014 season had been pit lane penalties applied as a performance advantage or a safety risk.

A performance advantage can result in a driver or point's penalty while a safety breach can result in a team penalty such as a fine, points or exclusion.

An example of these are a car controller assisting with minor work on the car and not paying attention to the safety of his crew. This may be determined a safety breach.

A car controller who assists by working directly on the car during a pit stop may be deemed a performance and safety breach.

"Exceptions to any variation, and this is where the pit lane speeding item was heavily discussed, may include rules which are in place for safety and/or are performance related," White explained.

"Safety is potentially compromised by speeding in pit lane, and most certainly is a performance advantage, no matter how small.

"That said, we don't want the fan experience ruined, hence we have introduced the provision for a post-race review on speeding breaches at pit entry that sit at the lower end."

The revised table of penalties will take effect as at the next V8 Supercars event, the Perth 400. The penalties table will be available to all teams and the public.

"We saw no reason why these penalties should not be made available and this has been clearly communicated with our teams," White said.

"Making the document available to teams and fans alike obviously provides a greater level of transparency. Taking away that element of surprise, particularly for our passionate fans, will provide for a greater acceptance and, for the teams, stability in the process of applying the rules."

Several other penalties have been brought into line to be consistent throughout the table of penalties document in a sport that hundredths of seconds separate the entire field.

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