WEC: Dempsey Proton face severe sanctions following post-Fuji investigation
Both the No. 77 and No. 88 full-season FIA WEC Porsche 911 RSRs have received major penalties after investigations into alleged manipulation of the data fed to the FIA fuel data logger at the Fuji championship round last month. The subsequent decisions see both cars disqualified from the Japanese race, and all points scored to date in all championships in the WEC removed from the team.
The issue arose after fuel stops were observed visually to be below the 45-second minimum in Japan, and both cars were handed time penalties with a requirement to present a report on the infraction to the stewards before the Shanghai round. That data was duly supplied and a series of meetings took place in China between the team and race officials investigating the matter.
The conclusion of the stewards is that a line of additional code was inserted into the data logging computer that resulted in false readings being supplied, the actual fueling times having two seconds added to those reported to the FIA. It is understood that breaches have been detected at both Fuji and Silverstone.
In a long and stridently worded pair of stewards’ decisions on the matter (linked below), it is made clear that the team’s position is to lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of an un-named and now dismissed consultant. The team, though, would not reveal the identity of the consultant, nor the specific details and reasoning for its dismissal.
It makes clear, too, that evidence from a Porsche Customer racing representative places the responsibility squarely on the team; the team responded in turn that the blame laid with its consultant.
Clearly, the stewards have decided that there have been a number of breaches of regulations which constitute “fraudulent process.” Even if the consultant was guilty of the actions described that this would still be, by regulation, the responsibility of the team to manage and report — and that in failing to identify the said consultant, the team was guilty of “failure to cooperate in an investigation.”
The Dempsey Proton team is set to appeal the decisions and until that process is complete it is not clear whether the squad is at risk of losing its Le Mans win for the No. 88 car and its subsequent automatic entry for the 2019 race. The team, across its Dempsey Proton and Proton Competition monikers, currently holds four automatic entries.
With final results having been declared for the rounds up to the Fuji race (whose result was provisional pending this investigation), the changes to the points affect only the removal of points from the Dempsey Proton pair, with no other team receiving a boost in points total as a result.
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