V8 Supercar sponsor head butts driver

A stunned Michael Patrizi
Mark Horsburgh

Ford star Michael Patrizi was attacked by a sponsor of his team after the Bathurst 1000 on Sunday. The young V8 Supercar driver suffered bruising and lacerations to his face when he was head-butted by a director from electrical testing company Tex Onsite.

The shocking incident occurred at the conclusion of the Bathurst 1000 when Patrizi was walking with his girlfriend in pit lane at Mt Panorama.

Witnesses say the director, whose company sponsors the Ford Rising Stars team, ran 15 meters to confront the 23-year-old rookie before head-butting him. The attacker was restrained by three men as he questioned Patrizi's driving ability. A shocked Patrizi, who finished the race in 17th place, confirmed the senseless attack.

"To be honest with you, I am still in shock," he said.

"He was full of alcohol and I have no idea why he did it. It is not the sort of thing you need after a race like that."

V8 Supercars officials confirmed they had spoken to witnesses of the incident, and said they had banned the Tex Onsite director from all V8 events until the end of 2009.

"V8 Supercars Australia has taken strong action against a team's minor sponsor following an incident soon after the conclusion of the Bathurst 1000 at Mt Panorama on Sunday evening," chairman Tony Cochrane said in statement.

"A director of a team sponsor engaged in conduct towards a V8 Supercar driver which V8 Supercars considers to be highly inappropriate. The V8 Supercars Championship Series has never had an incident of this kind in its history.

"V8 Supercars Australia will not tolerate this behavior from any person that attends a championship event, including anybody that is linked to a championship team. As a result, V8 Supercars has invoked a ban on accreditation of that person until the end of the 2009 season."

Ford Rising Stars team owner Jim Morton refused to comment when contacted.

"It is being dealt with by V8 Supercars," Morton said.

"It had nothing to do with us so I really don't want to say anything. I have only heard of it second hand. I did not witness it,"

Tex Onsite director Mick Kirwan denied any knowledge of the incident. Daily Telegraph