A1 Team Germany chastises decision
26 February 2008 – At the seventh round of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport in Durban on 24 February, A1 Team Germany was disqualified from the sprint race by a decision of the stewards, thus being deprived of any chance to fight for the title.
In the opinion of the stewards there was no doubt that A1 Team Germany was at fault in the accident between its car and that of A1 Team Netherlands. In the subsequent feature race, there were numerous further accidents and incidents in which A1 Team Germany was among the victims. In none of these cases did the stewards impose a disqualification as a penalty. Willi Weber, Seat Holder of A1 Team Germany, is dismayed about the inconsistency of the decisions.
"As a team that has been contesting the series ever since its inaugural season, we have been supporting the fantastic idea and concept of the A1GP World Cup of Motorsport since 2005," states the seasoned motorsport manager from Stuttgart. "Up to now, A1GP has been consistently moving forwards. In the meantime, I've become more sceptical. The city street race in Durban last Sunday saw an unusually high number of controversial incidents on the track. The stewards took the time to carefully analyse the events after the race. That's why we chose not to pass any final judgment in our initial comment on Sunday. But the further analyses and evaluation of the race by the stewards is scandalous."
Weber adds, "I deeply regret that the many fans at the venue were deprived of a consistent, flowing race as no less than four safety car phases interrupted the main race for a longer period of time. Outright scandalous, however, is the fact that there were extreme differences in the penalties imposed for the very serious incidents that occurred. Our racing car, for example, was turned around on lap four of the main race. Another driver was unable to avoid our car, hit us, and that was the end of our race. Before that, we had been disqualified from the sprint race.
'We have no knowledge of the driver who ended our race having received any significant penalty. But there are further examples. On lap 39, a young driver, after making a mistake in a blind area, performed an extremely risky manoeuvre, which provoked an accident. This ruined the race of the Brit Oliver Jarvis. Prior to this incident, we had been accused of having caused an 'avoidable' accident. So what about this crash, hadn't this one been avoidable as well?
'Finally, on lap 42, Jeroen Bleekemolen was turned around again, but his opponent in the accident was not disqualified. Instead, the race was stopped and the previous lap classified. Originally, this was done in the sprint race as well - the old status quo in the points standings was restored again, and nobody suffered any disadvantage. But then we were disqualified and the old status quo was no longer valid. In the main race, as well, the order in the standings before the accident was restored when the race was stopped. However, there were no penalties imposed against anyone who had caused an accident. Quite to the contrary, Adrian Zaugg received only a minor penalty that does not even affect the points score. I am not the only one who cannot help getting the impression that the decisions involve a double standard. The reactions by German media are interesting, to put it mildly."
In view of these events, Willi Weber is drawing some first conclusions: "It is not understandable why the penalties imposed differ so greatly, considering the seriousness of the incidents. It cannot be in the best interest of sport that sporting penalties are primarily characterised by unpredictability. That this happened in the midst of a title fight is particularly unfortunate. It is a mystery to me how something like this is possible. Before our team will take any further steps, I will try to discuss the issue with the people in charge. But one thing is certain: I expect to receive clear answers, and I will not let up on this matter."