Poo emoji response to stewards’ decision earns FREC team suspended fine

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The MP Motorsport team have been given a suspended fine of €2,000 (£1,700) after a team member responded to a stewards’ decision in a WhatsApp group by temporarily posting a poo emoji.

The stewards in charge of this weekend’s event at Spa-Francorchamps ruled they had violated the International Sporting Code which forbids “the general use of language (written or verbal), gesture and/or sign that is offensive, insulting, coarse, rude or abusive and might reasonably be expected or be perceived to be coarse or rude or to cause offense, humiliation or to be inappropriate.”

The dispute began after MP driver Sami Meguetounif tangled with Van Amersfoort’s Joshua Dufek during today’s race at the Belgian circuit. Dufek made contact with the left-rear of Meguetounif’s car at Les Combes, spinning him out of the race.

The stewards ruled the collision was a “racing incident” and that “no driver was wholly or predominantly to blame.” The verdict was communicated to teams in “stewards decision number 17” which was posted on the Notice Board WhatsApp group used by the stewards to communicate with the teams.

In response to this the stewards noted that “after stewards decision 17 (involving an MP Motorsport driver) was posted on the Notice Board WhatsApp group, a team member of MP Motorsport displayed an emoticon symbolising ‘a swirl of brown poo’ and removed it after a few minutes, to replace it with a new emoticon symbolising ‘a clown’ and removed it after a few minutes.”

The stewards deemed this a breach of the ISC and the FREC Sporting Regulations.

“According to article 3.3 [of the] FREC Sporting Regulations, ‘It is the competitor’s obligation to ensure that all persons concerned by his entry observe all the provisions. as supplemented or amended, of the Code, the FIA General Prescriptions relative to the circuits, the Formula Regional European Championship by Alpine Technical Regulations and these Sporting Regulations.”

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“On the other side, the article 16.5 of FREC Sporting Regulations provides that any behaviour non-compliant with the spirit of the Championship, included breach of morals and sporting ethics, nuisance to the higher interests of motor sport, moral or material loss suffered by officials on the part of a member of a team/competitor, a driver, or his entourage, will be the subject of sanctions.

“The stewards determined that aforementioned comments were not appropriate as it was disrespectful of the decision taken. According to article article 12.2 and 12.2.1.k [of the] FIA International Sporting Code, [it] shall be deemed to be a breach of these rules any misconduct which is defined in the ISC as “the use of expression which might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offence, humiliation, or to be inappropriate.”

In addition to the fine, which is suspended until the end of the year and must be paid by the team if there is a repeat of the infringement, the team member responsible for posting the message has been removed from the WhatsApp group.

Video: Meguetounif-Dufek collision at Spa

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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5 comments on “Poo emoji response to stewards’ decision earns FREC team suspended fine”

  1. To his credit, he did try the clown too.

    On a broader note, a comment being “offensive, insulting, coarse, rude or abusive” sounds like a list of requirements to make it into F1’s Best of Radio clips. When the FIA got all upset over Vettel rightly calling out their race director a few years back, they sanctimoniously complained that people in the big series should set a good example to those in junior formulas. Yet F1 is doing the exact opposite every two weeks.

  2. Headline of the year!

    Also swapping that emoji for the clown emoji after a few minutes is a lovely touch, very tactical.

  3. What if he/she would have written “I don’t like there was no penalty.”
    Where is the line? Of course some people will get angry for stewards and million penalties would have been handled if every word againts the stewards would have been heard.

  4. Clown and poo emoji are now justified as it would never have reached the rest of the world without this suspended penalty.
    I would now appeal it as the stewards have broken the ISC and committed their own act of damaging publicity in which MP Motorsport are not liable for.

  5. This is now quite a picture with Van ‘t Hoff in front there…

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