Confederation of Australian Motor Sport CEO Eugene Arocca has labelled Jamie Whincup’s Pukekohe outburst as “disgraceful”, and is not ruling out a race suspension as punishment.
Supercars star Whincup blasted CAMS race control after last Sunday’s controversial Safety Car episode in New Zealand, with claims officials are “not operating at the same level as the teams”.
Both Whincup and Cam Waters, who also criticised officials, were issued with a ‘please explain’ letter on Monday.
Whincup responded with a public statement admitting his comments were not helpful, however that’s failed to appease the governing body.
CAMS CEO Arocca is still waiting on a formal apology from Whincup, for what he says were “disgraceful” and “offensive” comments.
“The comments he made have ranged, from what people have said to me, from disrespectful to disgraceful,” said Arocca.
“Nobody has said anything supportive, within CAMS, of that sort of attack on the integrity of our officials.
“He’s accused them of cruising, of not having their brains in gear, and getting on the piss.
“I’m struggling to find a more offensive comment about an official at a high-level sport ever, other than cheating. This is just one step down.
“We’re pretty upset about it. To be brutally blunt, there are lawyers who were stewards at that event, and they would be within their rights to consider separate legal action. Because they’ve been defamed.
“I understand the theatre element of it. You can come out and say ‘I didn’t agree with that decision’ or ‘I’m pretty pissed off about that decision’.
“But you step over the line when you attack the professionalism of the individuals who have made the decision. To come out on national television and go whack, and attack, I think, their integrity… because in a way, when you talk about people not being professional, getting on the red wine, not having their brain in gear, you’re really attacking they integrity.
“This will reverberate right through to the FIA. And don’t forget, this is the pool from which Michael Masi came. So you’re really attacking all Australian officials at all levels, internationally and locally, when you come out with the disgraceful comments that were made on the weekend.
“And that’s my view of it. They were disgraceful. They attack the integrity of people who don’t deserve that sort of treatment.
“I think universally the decisions were right in the circumstances. So to actually have a crack at decisions that were right, and then attack the integrity of those people, is in my opinion about as bad an incident as I’ve seen in my seven years with CAMS.
“I’ve been involved in sport at the highest level in one form or another since 1996, it’s a 20-odd-year experience. I’ve dealt with AFL and other forms of sport in my career, and this is about as bad as I’ve heard about an official.
“That paragraph will go down in infamy, in my view.”
Whincup has until tomorrow to provide an apology to CAMS, which will help determine if the matter is referred to a tribunal.
Should the tribunal get involved, potential sanctions include fines and suspensions.
The seven-time Supercars champion could, therefore, be forced to sit out the Bathurst 1000.
“I’m waiting for Jamie’s formal response,” said Arocca.
“If his response, or the outcome of that interaction between me and him, doesn’t result in an outcome that we believe is acceptable, then the next step for me is to refer him to a tribunal.
“And I’d have no hesitation in doing that, to be brutally honest.
“Im keen to hear what Jamie has to say in a formal sense. He’s contacted me and said he’d come back to me. But right now, the mood of the place is that it should be referred to a tribunal.
“And then anything could happen, from fines, suspension, or any other sort of penalty that the tribunal might see fit.
“I’m hoping to resolve it in a sensible way, but absent that, it’s off the tribunal – as it should be.
“If this was the AFL or the NRL, I suspect the consequence would be very, very serious. You only have to look at [AFL legend] James Hird when he had a crack about the integrity of an umpire and was fined on the spot $25,000.
“We either take this seriously, or we allow pot-shots to be taken at our officials, who are generally volunteers, generally give up a lot of their time, to effectively keep this sport running at all levels.
“That has cut right to the heart of our officials community.”
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